A quieter Diwali in Ahmedabad this year also turned out to be safer. There were no casualties this year as compared to last time when there were at least three or four, said Chief Fire Officer of Ahmedabad M F Dastoor. Also, according to a report from 108 control room, the call count in Ahmedabad was 1,992, lesser than last year.
Not just in Ahmedabad, the total number of emergency calls from across Gujarat was also less as compared to 2016. According to GVK Emergency Management and Research Institute (EMRI), this year the 108 control room received 2,614 calls from across Gujarat on Diwali, 3,507 on Gujarati New Year and 3,417 on Bhai Beej, while the corresponding figures for 2016 were 3,201, 3,936 and 3,627.
The downfall in sale of firecrackers in Ahmedabad this year had a clear impact on the number and kind of cases the city fire department and emergency control received this Diwali. According to Dastoor, though there was an increase in the number of calls to the fire brigade, the severity of the cases were less. “We received about 63 calls last year, but this time we got around 130. However, all were very benign. Last year, there were around seven to eight severe cases, including fire in a godown, but this time the calls were primarily for easily-extinguishable fire,” said the officer.
Even the number of patients admitted to various hospitals during Diwali plummeted. “Health complaints this Diwali have reduced by 30 to 40 per cent,” said Dr Pragnesh Vachharajani, associated with Doctor on Call service, adding he dealt with just minor road accidents and seasonal fever or diarrhoea this time.
According to a report of GVK Emergency Management and Research Institute (EMRI), Ahmedabad registered 175 cases of breathing problem and 23 burns from October 19 to October 22. On Thursday, that was Diwali, 32 cases of breathing problem and nine burns were recorded. The cases are, however, higher than other districts. Kaushik Saraswat of Analytics at GVK EMRI confirmed that they record lesser cases than last year. Dastoor has credited this to dissipating urge to burst firecrackers and growing awareness about their harmful effects, especially among the younger generation.