Gone with the bang
Firework accidents have been
Still take precautions when using them
By Udena Attiygalle
There is no snow, no chilly northern wind here
in Colombo. It is hot. Yet even here Christmas celebrations are not lacking.
And which celebration in this country would be complete without those firecrackers.
Be it the New Year, Christmas, a victory at a cricket match or for that
matter even at a death, firecrackers have become a integral part of these
For most of us the approaching New Year will begin with a "BANG".
But for some it will begin in a hospital bed. These will be the unfortunate
(or careless) few who got too close to the "bang".
Hector Weerasinghe, the Director of the Accident Service and a vociferous
campaigner for the safe use of firecrackers was of the view that these
injuries were totally avoidable. Therefore the public should make sure
that they do not happen.
Due to the wide publicity and the concerted efforts of a number of people
the number of firecracker injuries reported to the National Hospital on
New Year's eve had dropped to just one last year-a drastic improvement
from 13 cases the previous year.
But Dr. Weerasinghe was adamant in stating that "we have to keep
reminding our people. They have a very short memory." A finger blown
off, a burnt-up disfigured face, total blindness. Many careless firecracker
users end up like this on hospital beds on New Year's Day. The only time
such an injury proved fatal was reported from Wattala in 1996. All of these
could be avoided if a few simple precautions had been taken.
According to the doctor the most common mistake is holding the cracker
in the hand. When crackers or skyrockets explode in your hand it can blow
away a finger or two and even cause severe burns and disfigurement and
even blindness if held close to the face.
mistake is to gather around unexploded fire-works in an attempt to revive
them. Throwing fire crackers at friends, lighting a bunch of crackers under
a tin can and shooting sky rockets horizontally can be perceived as fun
by some, but it can also be very dangerous and cause severe injury.
Ignoring dangerous 'tricks' and handling by hand when using firecrackers
is the most practical way to avoid injuring yourself and others. Also Dr.
Weerasinghe said emphatically that " high explosive crackers should
be totally banned"
It may shock most people that there are no standards set out by the
Sri Lanka Standards Institute (SLSI) for firecrackers.
So it follows that there is no quality control on the crackers nor is
the consumer guaranteed of safety when using them.
The institute had in fact done a study on this a few years ago but it
had not resulted in the establishment of a standard for firecrackers. So
the quality of the firecrackers you are about to explode could be anybody's
According to vendors around Colombo the most popular type of fireworks
during this time is the relatively harmless 'sparklers." The demand
for firecrackers had gone down, they observed. They usually start selling
crackers a few weeks before Christmas and go on till the New Year dawns.
The sale of firecrackers it seems is at its highest during the two days
prior to Christmas and then the New Year.
" Everybody lights a cracker on the 31st night", one vendor
said. So if you are one those people for whom the thrill of a firecracker
going off at the dawn of the New Year is an irresistible attraction, do
pay attention to safety it may just prevent you from languishing in a hospital
bed, in pain and discomfort and scowled on by annoyed nursing staff on
the very day that you were heralding with a bang.
More Plus * I feel a difference
in my life now * Sparkling wine or boiling milků
Front Page| News/Comment|
Sports | Mirror Magazine