CHENNAI: Come Deepavali, there’s no dearth of fun and joy for the young and the old. It is a time to buy new clothes, paint and decorate houses, eat sweets, and meet and greet friends — though due to the pandemic it would be on a low key this year. The highlight of the celebrations is, of course, the fireworks show, for one and all. While the fireworks are a treat to the eyes, they can also be the cause of minor or major mishaps. Almost always, it is carelessness on our part that results in such accidents.
Let us see what can be done to make this Deepavali a safe and memorable one.
1 Never allow children to burst fireworks alone. It should always be under parental guidance.
2 Always ensure that you have a bucket of water and one of sand ready at the place where you are bursting crackers.
3 Put the burnt sparklers, etc., in the sand bucket and not on the ground as it may burn your feet.
4 Avoid wearing loose, flowing synthetic garments such as dhotis, saris and long skirts. Wear tight fitting cotton clothes like pants, churidars, leggings, etc. If you are using a dupatta, tie it around your
waist so that it is not hanging loosely.
5 Always wear chappals or shoes so that your feet are protected.
6 Try and burst crackers in an open area rather than in a narrow closed space. Community celebrations in a large open ground is most desirable.
7 Never burst a cracker by holding it in the hand or using a short agarbathi. Always use a long burning
stick to ignite the crackers or bombs.
8 Do not cover a bomb with a tin or coconut shell when lighting it.
9 Never handle or try to reignite a cracker that has failed to burst. Discard them. Avoid lighting a bonfire at the end with all the unused/discarded crackers.
10 Never store your crackers near the source of fire such as a candle or lamp. Do not keep crackers in your
11 Avoid firing rockets from ground level or near slum areas. Always light rockets by making them stand
12 Have concern for the old and the sick — do not burst loud crackers near hospitals and old age homes.
Similarly, have concern for your pets as they cannot tolerate very loud noises. Follow the timings for
bursting crackers as prescribed by your local law enforcing agency.
Despite taking all precautions you may have a situation where a burn accident has occurred. What should the dos and don’ts be?
- Immediately apply cool water on the burnt area for at least 5-10 minutes. Pouring water does not
- cause infection as is the common myth; it in fact helps reduce the depth and severity of burn injury.
- Roll on the ground, pour water or use a blanket/ bed sheet to put out the fire.
- If your eyes are injured, rinse them with plenty of clean water and rush to an eye hospital. Do not rub your eyes.
- Cover the burnt area with a clean cloth.
- Seek medical help at the earliest.
- Do not run if the clothes have caught fire as this increases the flames.
- Do not wrap a burnt person with a blanket/bedsheet as this may increase the depth of injury by retaining the heat within it.
- Do not apply ink/coffee p owder/turmeric/toothpaste or any other coloured liquid on the burn wound and this may cause infection and prevent the doctor in assessing the wound accurately.
I sincerely hope all of you will follow this advice and wish that all of you have a safe and Happy Deepavali 2020.
The writer is a consultant plastic and reconstructive surgeon.