By Dr Sheela Chakravarthy, Director, Internal Medicine Fortis Hospital, Bannerghatta Road
With Diwali around the corner, we need to brush up on our dos and don’ts to avoid unforeseen incidents. Though bursting of crackers is a joy for everyone especially children, one cannot ignore the risks factors involved like fire accidents, burns and injuries. Pollution is another hazard caused by emission of smoke from the chemicals contained in the fire crackers that will have an impact on health. Besides it also causes sound pollution when high decibel noise is released from bursting of crackers. Parents should take care of their children while using fire crackers and educate them on the precautions to be taken. Though most of us are familiar with the precautions, here are some of the dos & don’ts for ready reference to refresh our memory.
Ensure fireworks manufacturer is a child labor-free organization. Do not encourage fireworks manufacturers who employ children below the age of 14 for manufacturing fireworks. There are still some fireworks manufacturers who employ child labor to work with hazardous materials and in hazardous environments.
Do’s and Don’ts
1. Always buy fireworks from ISI licensed and reliable sellers. Read the label on the crackers and follow the instructions carefully.
2. Crackers should be stored in a dry place away from inflammable materials like gas, stove, electric appliances etc., which is inaccessible for children
3. Avoid lose inflammable clothing instead wear fitting cotton clothes. Use goggles and other protective equipments to avoid injury to eye and other body parts.
4. Crackers causing explosion and physical damage are well known. Children should always burst crackers under the supervision of adults.
5. Put cotton plugs in your ears to avoid damage to your ears, as the noise of crackers can be quite deafening.
6. Bursting crackers as a group is better because when we burst them individually, it causes more noise pollution and hindrance to environment.
7. Avoid doing stunts by holding crackers and lighting them in your hands. It can leave you seriously injured.
8. Burst crackers in open space like parks, grounds etc. Maintain 2-3 feet distance from crackers.
9. Use a long incense sticks for lighting fireworks. They add to the safety distance.
10. Keep blankets and buckets of water accessible. Water is the best way to douse off accidental fires and accidental burns.
11. Don’t try to examine a cracker that has not burst.
12. In case of fire, call the Fire Brigade at 101.
13. Every house much carry emergency ambulance number, kept in a visible part of the house, where one can contact in emergency.
14. In case of any accident the person must be taken out from the site of explosion and taken to a safe place and injury must be treated. Injury to eye is a medical emergency, an eye doctor must be consulted immediately.
15. Small burns on the skin can be treated by applying ointments like ‘Silver Sulfadiazine’. Do not apply butter, grease, powder, or any other remedies to the burn, as this increase the risk of infection.
16. When there is breathing difficulty because of burns, one should not pour water over but instead cover the individual by non- flammable material, move to an airy environment and call for ambulance at 102.
17. Children/adults with grievous injury should not travel in their car, instead call an ambulance as the treatment can be started at the earliest and the time they reach hospital also can be substantially reduced as the golden hour is one hour after the incident.