Santa Rosa County urges residents to use caution and common sense when celebrating Independence Day. On a typical Fourth of July, fireworks account for two out of five of all reported fires, according to the National Fire Protection Association. And it’s not just fire that’s a concern, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission stated that during last year’s festivities, at least four people died and about 11,100 were injured badly enough to require medical treatment after fireworks-related incidents.
Follow these tips to help keep you and your family safe:
- Purchase state-approved sparklers from licensed vendors and follow all warnings and instructions before using.
- Light sparklers on a flat smooth surface away from combustible materials (not grass).
- Keep a fire extinguisher or water hose ready for emergencies.
- Never have any portion of your body directly over the sparkler when lighting the fuse.
- Never allow children to use any sparkler without supervision.
- Light only one item at a time and never attempt to re-light a “dud.”
- Submerge used and “dud” sparklers in water prior to placing in trash receptacles.
Fido and Fireworks don’t mix!
Unlike most people, animals don’t associate the noise, flashes and burning smell of fireworks with celebration. As a result, fireworks can cause a great deal of stress for many pets. Shelters often see an increase in lost pets after fireworks displays. If your pet is missing, call Santa Rosa Animal Services at (850) 983-4680 or search the “Search Lost Pets” tab at www.santarosa.fl.gov/animals.
Follow these tips to help keep your pet safe:
- Keep pets indoors during the evening of July 4. Turn on the TV or radio as a distraction and close the curtains. Provide a pet bed or crate in a quiet place to create a small den-like place and a sense of security.
- Take your pet for an extra potty break before fireworks begin. If your pet becomes frightened, this can help prevent accidents.
- If your pet often becomes stressed during periods of loud noise like thunderstorms, check with your veterinarian to see if a tranquilizer is appropriate for your pet during the festivities.
- If you are near a fireworks display or if neighbors are lighting fireworks, don’t leave your pets unattended outside, not even in a fenced yard or on a chain. Frightened pets may try to escape a fenced yard or become tangled in their chains.
- If you must be outside with your pet, keep the pet on a leash or in a carrier at all times.
- Do not leave your pet in a vehicle while you watch a fireworks display. In only a matter of minutes, the heat in a car can cause serious health problems or death, even at night. A stressed animal can also cause major damage to the interior of your vehicle.
- Make sure your pets have proper identification tags with current information in the event they run away. If you pet is microchipped, check the database to ensure the information is up to date with your current address.