North Wales Fire and Rescue Service is encouraging our local Sikh and Hindu communities to celebrate Vaisakhi (aka Baisakhi) safely again this year.
Our Service is asking people who are observing Vaisakhi (aka Baisakhi) to take care when lighting candles and whilst preparing and cooking food whether you are at home or when visiting the gurdwara.
Vaisakhi is a day to celebrate 1699 - the year when Sikhism was born as a collective faith and one tradition is to celebrate the harvest, so food (and cooking) plays a huge part to play. Lighting candles is another common cultural practice too.
- Use sturdy heat resistant candleholders to place your candles.
- Keep candles at least 4 feet away from curtains, draperies, decorations, blinds, and bedding.
- Place candles out of reach of small children and pets.
- Never leave burning candles unattended and make sure to extinguish them when you are finished (i.e. when you leave the room).
Preparing the Kitchen:
- Be aware that oven cleaners cause severe burns. High exposures to cleaning products such as ammonia and bleach can irritate the respiratory system.
- If using a hot plate (blech), always check the appliance prior to use. Do not use if power chords are worn, frayed, or damaged.
- Take precautions when handling hot and boiling water and use oven mitts or potholders.
- Create a “child-free safety zone” of at least 3 feet from any cooking appliances.
Preparing food for Vaisakhi:
- Stay in the kitchen, don’t leave cooking food unattended. The leading cause of kitchen fires is unattended cooking.
- Wear shorter or tighter fitting clothing (loose clothing is more likely to catch on fire or get caught on pot handles).
- Turn pot handles inward facing the wall to prevent burns caused by overturning or spills.
Preparing food for Vaisakhi (Continued):
- Use oven gloves when placing fluffy bread (i.e. Naan, Kulcha) in and out of the oven or when using a pan to cook traditional flat breads such as roti or chapati.
- Take care when making puri’s and parathas in the pan. If the oil starts to smoke, always turn off the heat and allow the pan to cool down.
- Keep the area around the stove clear of towels, papers, pot holders or anything that could burn.
- Have a pot lid handy to smother a pan fire. Do not attempt to pick up the pot or pan. Turn off the heat source and cover the fire with a lid.
- DO NOT USE WATER ON A COOKING FIRE! It will cause splashing and spread the fire.
- Make sure all appliances have been turned off when you are finished cooking.
- Treat burns immediately with cool running water for at least 10 minutes and seek medical attention.
Most importantly make sure you have at least one working smoke alarm on every floor, test it regularly and plan an escape route. If there is a fire, a smoke alarm will immediately warn you, giving you and everyone in the building time to escape to safety.
Finally, if a fire does break out, get out, stay out and call 999.