The countdown to Diwali has started, and preparations for the most loved festival across the country are already on! Even as we deep clean and decorate our homes, take part in mouth-watering feasts, and exchange gifts with our friends and family, we need to keep safety protocols right at the top of our priorities. And especially this year, health is an important consideration that we just cannot afford to ignore. From electrical hazards and fire safety to steering clear of the pandemic, here’s the complete list of safety precautions you must follow this Diwali.
#1. Fire Proof Your Home
As Diwali is the Festival of Lights, the lighting of diyas and the bursting of firecrackers is an integral part of the celebrations. Firecrackers are on the decline because of environmental concerns, but diyas and candles are lit on every balcony, doorstep or window. Here’s what you must keep in mind:
- Make sure that you fix the candles firmly on a surface that’s non-inflammable, and ensure they are not in close proximity to curtains flying loose.
- Never leave burning candles or diyas unattended.
- If you’re bursting crackers, do check to see that your clothes are well secured and your hair is tied back.
- Fold rugs away and if your sofa upholstery is flammable, consider covering it with cotton slipcovers.
- Tie back the curtains and pull the blinds up.
- An important precaution to take this year: Keep bottles of sanitizer away from any open flames, and avoid using sanitizer before you burst crackers or light lamps. The alcohol content in sanitizer makes it highly flammable.
#2. Take Care of Your Pets and Babies
If you’re a pet parent or have a baby at home, you will already know that this is the time of year they hate the most. The loud sound of crackers and the toxic smoke in the air can turn your pet into a whimpering mass of confusion. Your tiny baby may be bewildered by all the noise and fuss, and unhappy that she isn’t getting your full attention. A newborn baby’s hearing development gets affected by sounds over 80 decibels, and with many loud fireworks registering at almost twice this figure, you should make sure your baby is protected.
- Keep your babies and pets indoors
- Try to schedule sleep time during the noisiest part of the evening.
- Make sure that your baby or pet is well fed and avoid stimulation of any sort.
- Close the windows and doors to avoid air and noise pollution.
- Keep your baby’s ears covered with ear muffs or a cap. You can try the same for your pet (if at all possible!)
While bursting crackers may be a lot of fun, the smoke and haze that firecrackers generate make it very hard to even step out of the home. Crackers release poisonous fumes and metal particles in the air and leave piles of burnt paper and toxic residues behind. The chemicals they release harm not only the air but the earth and water as well, and this causes far-reaching damage to animals and humans alike. Go green, and celebrate Diwali without crackers this year! Here’s what you can do instead:
- Light diyas (of course, after taking the precautions we have already spoken about!)
- Have a virtual party with friends. Have a karaoke session online, or play fun games together.
- Donate the money you would normally spend on crackers to your favourite charity.
- Decorate your home with Rangolis and DIY crafts.
- Make homemade sweets and distribute them to family and friends!
#4. Prevent Electrical Hazards
A lot of the magic of Diwali comes from the festoons of twinkling lights that adorn every home. Quite often, however, these lights are connected using extension cords and makeshift wiring that could prove to be a major electrical hazard. When circuits get overloaded, an electrical fire could be the result.
- Get a good electrician to install the decorative lights.
- Keep children away from any electric wiring.
- Install ELCBs that will disconnect circuits instantly in case of any leakage of current.
- Buy only good quality wiring and light strings, and use LED lights to save electricity.
#5. Watch Out for Burglars!
Diwali often tends to be a field day for burglars, and it pays to keep your home protected!
- If you’re leaving your home even for a short while, lock up after you.
- Ask your neighbors to watch over your house and alert you if they see anything unusual.
- Be discreet and keep your valuables, wallet and mobile phone close to you. Stay vigilant at all times!
#6. Pandemic Precautions
The pandemic is on an unrelenting march across the world, and as news channels and social media posts keep stressing, there’s a very real need to stay safe and take sensible precautions during festivals.
- Avoid social gatherings and take your festival greetings online, with virtual parties and online bhajan sessions.
- Keep six feet away from strangers. This year, let’s stay apart to stay together….after all, it’s the spirit that counts!
- Greet others with a Namaste rather than a hug.
- Wear your mask at all times.
- Keep washing your hands as often as you can.
- Avoid using sanitizers; they are inflammable and you can burn yourself badly if you sanitize your hands while lighting diyas or bursting crackers!
#7. Take Care When Cleaning your Home or Upgrading the Décor
Diwali rituals include deep cleaning your home to welcome the Goddess Lakshmi, and upgrading your home décor. Don’t let the pandemic ruin your festival this year; the HomeLane team is at hand to help you carry out all your yearly traditions with the utmost safety! Do your kitchen cabinets need an upgrade? Would you like to refresh your upholstery? With online video calling and safe, protected painting or décor services, we’ve got your back! All you need to do is call.
Diwali is all about rejoicing in the triumph of good over evil and welcoming bright new beginnings. Taking a few precautions can help you to make this a memorable day that your family will cherish forever! This year as always, the entire HomeLane team joins together to wish all of you, our dear readers, a safe and joyous Diwali season!