With Diwali just around the corner, many people who celebrate will be lighting candles, oil lamps and lanterns as part of the Festival of Light. Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service (RBFRS) is asking for residents who participate in this religious celebration to do so carefully, as open flames can pose a fire risk.
Take extra care when lighting candles, and ensure that any open flames are at a safe distance away from children, pets and flammable materials like curtains. Plan an escape route in case of an emergency, as this can help to keep yourselves and your loved ones safe.
“If someone does get burnt, remember to cool, call and cover. Cool the area under cool running tap water for at least 20 minutes, call 999 or 111 for medical advice, and cover with cling film.”
To ensure that Diwali can be enjoyed in a safe manner, please follow our guidance.
Candles and Oil Lamps:
- Always place in a proper holder on a stable, heat-resistant surface.
- Keep flames at a safe distance from flammable materials such as curtains.
- Keep long hair and clothing away from open flames.
- Place out of reach of children and pets.
- Do not place under shelves.
- Trim candle wicks to a quarter of an inch before lighting them.
- Extinguish all candles, incense and oil lamps before you go to sleep.
- If a fire should start, do not use water to extinguish a candle wax fire.
- Using a snuffer or spoon is safer than blowing a candle to extinguish a flame.
RBFRS does not recommend using flying lanterns because of the fire hazard and risk they pose to property, crops, livestock, and the environment. However, if you do intend to use them, then please read through the advice below.
- Keep water buckets or a garden hose on hand in case they accidentally catch fire.
- Ensure sufficient clearance to avoid obstacles, e.g. trees, power lines or buildings.
- Avoid launching near roads – especially major roads or motorways.
- Consider the wind direction and strength.
- Consider whether conditions are dry as a result of the previous weather conditions.
- Ensure that lanterns are only used by responsible adults.
- Always follow the Firework Code.
- Only buy your fireworks from licensed retailers – look for a CE mark.
- Adhere to the fireworks curfew – do not set off fireworks after 1am.
- Don’t drink alcohol if setting off fireworks.
- Follow the instructions exactly – read the safety instructions carefully before setting off the fireworks. Once the debris has cooled down, tidy it up and soak in water overnight before putting it in a rubbish bag in the bin.
- Understand what fireworks you can use at home – Category F1, F2 and F3 fireworks are on sale to the public. A consumer firework will fall into either category F2 or F3 depending on how much of a safety distance it requires. Check you have enough space to safely use a firework before you buy it. Category information can be found on the label.
- Be considerate to animals when letting off fireworks – if you plan to let off any fireworks, let your neighbours know in advance so that they can care for pets.
- Stand well back and always supervise children.
- Light sparklers one at a time and wear gloves – never give sparklers to children under five years old.
For more safety advice, visit our Celebrating Safely webpages.