West Midlands Fire Service urges families to take extra care when celebrating Diwali this weekend - The Coventry Observer

13th Aug, 2022

West Midlands Fire Service urges families to take extra care when celebrating Diwali this weekend

FAMILIES celebrating Diwali across Coventry this weekend (November 14 and 15) are being urged by West Midlands Fire Service (WMFS) to celebrate with extra care, particularly if using fireworks at home.

Also known as the Festival of Lights, Diwali, is one of the biggest celebrations in the Sikh, Hindu and Jain calendar. Fireworks, candles and oil lamps, as well as special meals with family and friends, usually add to the festive mood.

Watch Commander Gurpreet Gill, of WMFS, said: “Diwali is a really special time for me and my family, as well as thousands of other households across the West Midlands. This year the celebrations will be much smaller and feel very different, but it’s important we all keep a focus on safety.

“Please be sure to follow the current rules on social gatherings, and take extra care with candles and divas – LEDs can be a safe, colourful alternative. If you’re cooking up a feast, never leave your cooking unattended, be careful with hot oil and keep an eye on the kids in the kitchen.

“Our biggest concern this year is the use of fireworks in back gardens. If you feel you must go ahead with your own Diwali firework celebration, plan ahead and remember that fireworks are explosives. Buy suitable, legal fireworks from a licensed supplier and ensure you have enough outdoor space to use them safely – usually between five and 25 metres – in accordance with the instructions.”

Between 2014 and 2019, WMFS firefighters responded to some 1,760 firework and bonfire-related incidents. During the same period, there were more than 1,000 severe burn injuries involving fireworks in England and Wales, with 38% of these involving under-15s and the majority being male.

Divas and candles also have the potential to cause serious burns and fires if not used and extinguished properly, says the service. Families are being encouraged to take care with hot oil and ensure that traditional clothing, such as saris, and long hair are kept away from naked flames.

For more fire safety advice and guidance to keep you and your family safe during Diwali, go to wmfs.net/safety/at-home/

Recently-introduced Government legislation gives police the powers to fine people who break lockdown measures. Restrictions on social gatherings – both nationally and locally – are in place to prevent the spread of Covid-19 and to ease pressures on the NHS.

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