Independence Day, or Fourth of July, is the holiday most commonly celebrated with family gatherings, BBQs, and fireworks. But it’s this same holiday that touts the highest rate of structure fires and injuries due to fireworks. Fireworks account for an average of 18,500 fires each year, including structure fires, vehicle fires, and other fires. Fireworks-related brush, grass, and forest fires account for nearly 60% of reported fires from 2014-2018. Additionally, the CPSC estimates that 9,100 fireworks-related injuries were seen in US Emergency Rooms in 2018. Of this, the CPSC reports 5 fireworks-related deaths whereas the majority of injuries involved burns to extremities (particularly the fingers, hands, or legs).
Sparkler and Firework Safety
- Never tamper or disassemble fireworks on your own. And of course, never attempt to make fireworks or any other type of explosive at home.
- Never point fireworks at yourself or others, especially when they are lit. As harmless as sparklers may appear, they burn at an extremely high temperature and can burn clothing or skin.
- Only light fireworks on the ground and in areas away from any flammable materials like grass, linens, brush, etc.
- Don’t allow young children to handle fireworks without adult supervision.
- Always keep a fire extinguisher nearby in addition to water hoses and buckets full of water. You may need to quickly put out a fire or smoldering material and can’t afford to waste time looking for a way to extinguish it.
- Dispose of duds or malfunctioning fireworks into a bucket of water and don’t attempt to relight them.
Pet Safety Tips
Whether you brought your companion to an event where fireworks are present or you’re lighting them at home, remember to take care of your pet. These events are great fun for people but noisy fireworks may be incredibly stressful to your pet at home. A combination of summer heat and travel, potentially dangerous debris, and loud noises may pose a danger to your pet. The American Veterinary Medical Association has a list of tips to keep your pets safe during holiday celebrations/.
- Make sure your pets have updated ID tags in case they run away from the noise. In addition to ID tags, make sure your pets are microchipped with updated information. This can ensure that your pet has a greater chance of being returned home to you and your family.
- If your pet is prone to stress and anxiety consider temporarily removing them from the home or asking a friend to keep an eye on them. Some pets may need medication. Consult your veterinarian or a veterinary behaviorist.
- Keep your pets inside if you or your neighbors are lighting off fireworks, especially if it’s particularly hot outside.
- Don’t let your pets near barbecue pits or grills to minimize the potential for injury. Alert your guests to not give pets any table scraps that’s intended for people. Be especially weary of foods that are toxic for animals to consume.
- After celebrations, check your yard for any firework debris before allowing pets to wander in the yard. If you hosted a gathering, check your yard for any food scraps that may have fallen to avoid animals ingesting anything harmful.
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