Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS) is wishing the Sikh, Hindu and Jain communities a happy and safe Diwali when the festival of lights begins later this month (30 October).
While the manner of celebration varies between regions, the essence of Diwali remains the same and often involves fireworks, candles, earthenware oil lamps (Divas) and cooking special meals for family and friends.
Prithipal Kang from KFRS said: “This is an important time for many in our community and we want to make sure that the Diwali celebrations on the 30 October are not disrupted due to fire and that safety remains a priority.
“So if you are taking part in the festivities to mark this special time please take a few minutes to understand how accidental fires can be prevented. Both Divas and candles have the potential to spread to soft furnishings if not handled correctly, so make sure they are fully extinguished before leaving the room. If you’re cooking with hot oil, only use the necessary amount and take the pan off the heat if you leave the kitchen. I would also urge people to keep in mind that long hair, and traditional clothing such as saris, can be extremely flammable.”
He added: “Its vital that everyone has working smoke alarms in their homes and that they test them before the festival gets underway.”
Follow these safety tips to help enjoy a safe Diwali:
Use only enough ghee for a Diva to last your Puja and make sure that it rests securely on a heat resistant surface
Keep flames at a safe distance from curtains, furniture, decorations and loose clothing
When cooking with deep-fried food, dry it before you put it in the hot oil
Never fill the pan more than one third full of oil
Never throw water over a burning pan
Fit smoke alarms on each floor of your home and test them regularly
Take extra care if using fireworks. For firework safety advice visit: http://www.saferfireworks.com/firework_code/index.htm.
Call KFRS on 0800 923 7000 to get more advice on how to keep you, your family or a neighbour safe from fire, it’s free from landlines or go to www.kent.fire-uk.org for further information.