Fourth of July fireworks tips

Published 10:15 am Friday, July 1, 2022

With July 4 approaching, fireworks may be part of local   Independence Day celebrations. For those who will celebrate with fireworks, it pays to be careful.

Here are several safety guidelines for using fireworks and some tips to ensure pets are protected from the loud noises.

First, don’t shoot firecrackers anywhere near a pet. Pets like dogs and cats are terrified by the noise of fireworks and may even run away. To ensure that doesn’t happen, the Pearl River County SPCA suggests keeping pets away from fireworks by keeping them inside with the radio or music playing. This will tone down some of the noise outside. At times, pets run away from their home due to the sounds from fireworks. Due to the dangers associated with a pet running away, it’s important to make pets are up to date on their vaccinations and have a current ID tag and microchip. If a pet happens to run away on July 4, or any day, check the PRC SPCA since many runaway pets end up in animal shelters.

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To calm a pet down who’s expressing fear of the fireworks, use a thundershirt, a rescue remedy, air diffuser or pet acoustic sounds.

Residents who will be putting on their own fireworks show can do so safely by following these guidelines provided by Picayune Fire Chief Pat Weaver, Poplarville Fire Chief Jason Bannister, MSU Extension Service and the National Safety Council. According to the NSC, it’s important to make sure the use of fireworks is legal in the area. Fireworks are legal for use within the limits of the city of Picayune from Dec. 5 until Jan. 2 and between June 15 to July 5. Residents of the city of Poplarville are banned from lighting fireworks in the city limits.

“Make sure you’re outside the city limits with fireworks,” Bannister said.

NSC also suggests keeping young children from handling fireworks and providing close adult supervision for older children who do use them. Weaver said sparklers that adults commonly think are safe for their older children actually burn at up to 12,000 degrees and can ignite clothes and cause serious burns.

Residents should wear protective eyewear when handling fireworks and avoid re-lighting or handling an undetonated or malfunctioning firework. Only use fireworks outdoors away from homes, people and flammable materials. Also, never light multiple fireworks at once. Light only one firework at a time and stand at a safe distance.

“When they do light them they need to be in a space away from people or structures or any type of flammable material,” said Waever.

It’s also a good idea to keep a water source close at hand to quickly put out any fires.

When it comes to discarding fireworks NSC suggests soaking all unused fireworks in water for several hours before discarding them. Also keep a bucket of water near the detonation area in case of a fire or for devices that don’t fully discharge.

Weaver by said residents should wait 10-15 minutes before placing a discharged firework in a bucket of water and they should never attempt to relight them.

“Make sure you have a safe space with enough room for the fireworks, use the fireworks as they are recommended. Have adult supervision and use care when lighting them,” Bannister said.