Enjoy Festival of Lights, says Fire Brigade

As thousands across Newham gear up to celebrate Diwali tonight with fireworks and candles, the Fire Brigade wants them to take special care.

Diwali, which is known as the Festival of Lights, is celebrated by many Asians across the capital. They light candles, oil lamps, set off fireworks and distribute traditional sweets. The event is a key celebration in the Hindu and Sikh calendars.

Wayne Brown, the London Fire Brigade’s Borough Commander for Newham, said: “We want everyone to enjoy Diwali but would like to remind people that candles, oil lamps and fireworks can be extremely dangerous if not used carefully.

“If you’re using candles it’s really important to make sure you put them out if you leave the room, especially if you’re going to bed. You should also make sure they’re placed on a heat resistant surface like a ceramic plate and that they’re well away from anything that could catch fire, like loose clothing or curtains.

“If you’re cooking a Diwali feast, please take extra care, especially if you’re planning on deep frying any food as it’s easy for the oil to catch fire. If the oil does catch fire, never throw water on it as it could explode into a fireball, which could cause you burns and damage your home.”

London Fire Brigade has issued some simple fire safety advice for Diwali:

• Make sure candles are placed in a fire resistant holder.

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• Keep candles and matches out of the reach of children.

• Keep candles away from draughts and from anything that can catch fire, like curtains or loose clothing.

• Special care should be taken with homemade, decorated candles and diya lamps.

• Ensure fireworks come from a reputable supplier and comply with the British Standard. Always follow the instructions found on each firework and follow the firework code.

• Never leave cooking unattended.

• If a fire does break out get everyone out, stay out and call 999. Never go back into the property to collect belongings.

• Get a smoke alarm and check it regularly to make sure it works.