Protect your family from fire this Diwali

Firefighters are giving Hindu and Sikh families across the Avon Fire & Rescue Service (AF&RS) area advice on staying safe as they celebrate Diwali, the Festival of Lights.

The event sees families light candles and Diyas (small earthenware oil lamps) in homes and public places, signifying the driving away of darkness and ignorance. It is a time for family gatherings, food and celebrations.

The main Diwali celebration, which this year takes place on Friday 5 November, is traditionally a time where candles and Diyas are left burning overnight.

Adrian Mantle, AF&RS Community Safety Officer, said: “Last year a Bristol family, including a four-day old baby, were lucky to escape with their lives after fire broke out in their home during Diwali.

“The fire was caused by candles which were left burning unattended in an upstairs bedroom. The room and everything in it - including irreplaceable family possessions - was left badly damaged.

“We want people to enjoy their Diwali celebrations safely and are spreading the word by visiting Hindu and Sikh temples and working with community groups to give advice on staying safe.”

AF&RS has produced a short film about candle safety, available on its website www.avonfire.gov.uk

Advice on staying safe during Diwali:

  • Make sure you have a smoke detector on every storey of your home and check the batteries weekly.
  • Keep clothes and hair away from naked flames – make sure your clothes don’t drape over hobs and candles.
  • Never leave cooking unattended on the hob or in the grill – over half of all house fires in our area start in the kitchen, many of which could have been avoided.
  • Always use a suitable container for your candles – tealights and nightlights will melt their foil containers and scented candles turn to liquid as they release the fragrance.
  • Never leave candles burning unattended and keep them well away from furnishings and clothing.