Fireworks safety tips

Posted July 2, 2010

Protecting yourself

The state Division of Forest Resources offers these tips to keep safe when celebrating with fireworks over the July Fourth weekend.

  • First, go to a public fireworks display, rather than set off your own!
  • Don’t use fireworks such as ground spinners, firecrackers, round spinners, Roman candles, bottle rockets and mortars, which are not legal in North Carolina.
  • Do not use fireworks near woods or any combustible material.
  • Make sure fireworks are always used with adult supervision.
  • Follow the instructions provided with the fireworks.
  • Do not use under the influence of alcohol.
  • Always use in a large, open, preferably paved, area or near a body of water.
  • Have a rake or shovel as well as bucket or two of water on hand.
  • Monitor the area for several hours after use.
  • In wooded areas, also do not start camp fires or grills with gasoline, and never leave them unattended.
  • To dispose of ashes, do not put them in a paper bag or other flammable container. Instead, place them in an outside metal container or bury them in mineral soil in your garden. In areas with organic soils, however, keep in mind that peat can catch fire.
  • Never store ashes in your garage, on your deck or in a wooded area. Double-check the ashes and coals before throwing them away to make sure they won’t start a fire.

Protecting pets

The Humane Society of the United States reports that during 4th of July celebrations, many pets run away from home after becoming confused and disoriented by loud noises.

People can prevent pet problems by planning ahead and taking some simple precautions:

  • First, resist the urge to take your pet to fireworks displays. They can be disorienting and frightening to pets, even those used to going places with their people.
  • Don't leave your pet in the car
  • With only hot air to breathe inside a car, your pet can suffer serious health effects – even death – in a few short minutes. Partially opened windows do not provide sufficient air, but they do provide an opportunity for your pet to be stolen.
  • Keep your pets indoors at home in a sheltered, quiet area. Some animals can become destructive when frightened, so be sure that you've removed any items that your pet could destroy or that would be harmful to your pet if chewed. Leave a television or radio playing at normal volume to keep him company while you're attending Fourth of July picnics, parades and other celebrations.
  • If you know that your pet is seriously distressed by loud noises like thunder, consult with your veterinarian before July 4 for ways to help alleviate the fear and anxiety he or she will experience during fireworks displays.
  • Never leave pets outside unattended, even in a fenced yard or on a chain. In their fear, pets who normally wouldn't leave the yard may escape and become lost, or become entangled in their chain, risking injury or death.
  • Make sure your pets are wearing identification tags so that if they do become lost, they can be returned promptly. Unknown animals found running at-large should be taken to the local animal shelter, where they will have the best chance of being reunited with their owners.

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