Protect people, pets and property while enjoying holiday fireworks

Protect people, pets and property while enjoying holiday fireworks


Fireworks can cast a magical glow on holiday festivities, but to avoid accidentally setting a fire be sure to follow all regulations and take precautions to start off the New Year right.

Despite recent wet weather, pockets of drier vegetation can remain. Therefore, be careful where you set fireworks off. Also, make sure that it is legal to set off fireworks in your area.

One of the surest ways to prevent tragedy is to avoid using alcohol before or while setting off fireworks. Becoming impaired by alcohol and using fireworks is a dangerous combination.

“Each New Year’s Eve, consumers are injured because their judgment has been impaired by beer, wine, or other alcoholic drink,” said Nancy Blogin, president of the National Council on Fireworks Safety. “In the past several years, there have been several reports of accidents where the person that was injured had been under the influence of alcohol and did not handle fireworks in a responsible way. The lesson is simple: alcohol and fireworks don’t mix.”


The National Council on Fireworks Safety recommends that those attending a New Year’s Eve party where fireworks will be used, appoint someone designated to set off the fireworks who agrees not to consume alcohol.

“Even a small quantity of alcohol – one beer or a glass of wine – can impair one’s judgment and ability to properly set up and use consumer fireworks safely,” the council notes.

One thing to keep in mind is the emotional trauma that fireworks can cause in your pets. The Animal Defense League of Texas notes, “Humans may enjoy the revelry of fireworks, but for some pets, fireworks, like thunderstorms, can cause a great deal of stress.”

In pets, signs of trauma caused by fireworks include violent shaking/trembling, excessive drooling, barking and howling, trying to hide or get out of the house or yard, refusing to eat, and losing control of their bladder or bowels, according to the ADL.

Fortunately, there are things you can do to help keep your pets comfortable despite the loud noises. These include keeping your pet indoors, closing the curtains or blinds and turning on the TV or radio to provide sound other than fireworks, and providing a quiet place, such as a crate, pet carrier or a room that is less susceptible to outside noise.

Some animals are more affected by loud noises than others. If you have observed extreme stress in your pet previously because of high noise levels, you can discuss medications to help calm your pet with the veterinarian.

National statistics indicate that because of fireworks on the Fourth of July, more pets become lost that day than any other day of the year. Although fireworks aren’t always as prominent in New Year’s celebrations, fireworks are common enough at that time that they can cause problems for pets.

The National Council on Fireworks Safety recommends the following safety tips: only use fireworks outdoors, use fireworks only as directed on the product label, obey all local laws regarding the use of fireworks, never give fireworks to children, wear safety glasses when shooting fireworks, and always have a bucket of water or hose nearby in case fireworks ignite something.

Fireworks can add a fun element to holiday celebrations, and by keeping people, pets and property safe, the festivities can be more enjoyable for everyone.