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Stay Safe this Ramadan

Essex County Fire and Rescue Service are warning Muslims to make sure they stay fire safe as they observe the holy month of Ramadan.

The celebration involves a month of fasting during daylight hours with meals eaten before sunrise and after sunset.

At this early hour in the morning or when people are coming together for a communal meal in the evening it can be very easy for a fire to start.

Divisional Officer Stuart McMillan said: “It is ironic and tragic that during periods of celebration there can be a dramatic increase in the number of fires among many communities.

“Our aim is to make people aware of their surroundings and ensure that they are actively thinking about fire safety in the home. By following a few simple tips everyone can make sure that they and their family stay safe throughout Ramadan.”

• When cooking, never leave food unattended to answer the phone or the door as serious fires can start when you are distracted even for a few seconds.
• Dry deep-fried food before putting it in hot oil and turn off the heat if the oil starts to smoke. Never fill the pan more than one-third full of oil and never throw water over the pan.
• Your first line of defence should be a smoke alarm. If there is a fire it will give everyone in your home time to escape to safety. Test it regularly.
• Do not remove the batteries — if your smoke alarm keeps going off it might be too close to the kitchen.
• Make sure you make an escape plan for in the event of a fire and ensure everyone in the house knows what to do.
• In the event of a fire in your home get out, stay out and call the fire service.

The month of Ramadan is a very important religious celebration in Islam. For 30 days, Muslims must fast from sunrise to sunset.

This year, Ramadan starts on Tuesday 9th July, and will continue until Wednesday 7th August.

Here are 10 things that you might not know about Ramadan:

1. The start of Ramadan is determined by the lunar cycle. The start of Ramadan is the new moon in the ninth month of the Islamic calendar.

2. During Ramadan, Muslims believe the gates to Heaven are opened, and it is therefore a blessed month.

3. Muslims also believe the gates to Hell are closed during Ramadan, and the devils chained up to stop them from tempting Muslims.

4. The month of Ramadan is believed to be when the first verses of the Holy Qur’an were sent down from Heaven to the prophet Muhammad.

5. During Ramadan, Muslims can’t eat or drink after sunrise and before sunset- the fast often lasts up to 17 hours each day. They can’t even drink water!

6. As well as fasting during Ramadan, Muslims should refrain from impure thoughts and words- Ramadan is a time for self-restraint and self-reflection.

7. Before sunrise, Muslims consume a meal called Suhoor. The idea of the meal is that it will line the stomach so that hunger doesn’t strike early the next morning. Suhoor normally includes homemade yoghurt, eggs, cheese, bread and jam.

8. At the end of each day, the fast is broken with a prayer and meal called Iftar. Many Muslims choose to break the fast each day with fresh or dried dates. Following this, many Muslims visit family and friends.

9. On the 27th day of Ramadan, Muslims celebrate the Laylat-al-Qadr, the Night of Power. According to the Qur’an, this is the night that God determines the course of the world for the following year.

10. When the fast ends, Muslims celebrate for three days in a holiday called Eid-al-Fitr, which means the Feast of Fast Breaking. Family and friends gather, exchange gifts, pray together and enjoy large meals.

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