Let us all prioritise fire safety and caution during Diwali this year

A young Hindu devotee looks on during a street parade as part of the preparations of the Diwali Hindu festival (Festival of Lights). AFP
A young Hindu devotee looks on during a street parade as part of the preparations of the Diwali Hindu festival (Festival of Lights). AFP

I write to you in reference to Nyree McFarlane’s article Diwali: 31 striking photos of early celebrations and preparations around the world (October 21).

The festival of lights, Diwali, is among the most awaited and the most widely celebrated festival in India. Diwali is rightly synonymous with bright fireworks lighting the night sky.

While this celebration certainly fills everyone’s spirit with joy, if not handled with care, candles and firecrackers can become dangerous tools. Improper handling of fireworks accounts for hundreds of injuries every year. The second-most commonly affected part of the body is the eye, a delicate organ.

Even minor damage to the eye can cause permanent injury and even impair one’s vision.

Children are at high risk of injury, but those most likely to be wounded in the eye are the bystanders. Nonetheless, children should only be allowed to use firecrackers under adult supervision.

The fireworks must also be stored very carefully, away from excessive heat or fire.

Small firecrackers can cause minor burns in the eyelashes, eyelids or the skin while accidents due to more heavy pyrotechnics can severely damage the eye.

Sparklers are extremely dangerous as they burn at very high temperatures. Debris left after the extensive use of fireworks could also become a cause of worry because of trace chemicals that are left on people’s fingers when they handle the firecrackers.

Kavya Nagaraj, eye specialist in Bengaluru

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Updated: October 21, 2019 07:37 PM


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