Fireworks safety tips for you and your pets ahead of 4th of July

NOW: Fireworks safety tips for you and your pets ahead of 4th of July

Saint Joseph Health System and the Humane Society of St. Joseph County have released lists of firework safety tips for you and your pets respectively.

Dr. Byars Wells, director of emergency medicine at Saint Joseph Mishawaka Medical Center, says every 4th of July weekend emergency rooms and burn centers see a significant increase in patients with firework injuries.

Wells adds facial, head, eye, and finger injuries are the most common.

"The safest way to enjoy fireworks is to watch a public display as the fireworks there are handled with very strict safety protocols,” said Wells.

If you decide to handle fireworks, Wells offers the following tips for handling them safely:

  • Do not allow children to handle or ignite fireworks. Fireworks and sparklers, even those that are seemingly safe and simple, pose significant risks when handled by young children.
  • Never use fireworks while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Even a small amount of alcohol can impair judgment and reaction time.
  • Wear heat-safe gloves and goggles when lighting fireworks. Light one at a time, moving back quickly.
  • Soak any non-functioning or used fireworks or sparklers in a bucket of water after use.
  • Ensure access to a hose, bucket of water, or fire extinguisher in case of fire, mishap or injury.

Wells says burns larger than the size of your palm or affecting the eyes and face should be treated as fast as possible by a local burn center. “Burns on the body should be rinsed under cool water, but not ice water, and only covered with a dry, sterile, nonstick bandage,” said Wells.

He also emphasizes how important honesty is when seeking medical treatment.

"Our job in the Emergency Department is to properly treat every individual who seeks care, regardless of how the injury occurred. It is important for patients to seek care and be honest with the medical team in the event of a firework-related injury so we can provide the best care possible,” said Wells.

The Humane Society of St. Joseph County is urging pet owners to take precautions to keep their pets safe and calm during holiday celebrations.

Humane Society officials remind the public that fireworks can cause distress for animals, leading to anxiety and the potential for them to run away in fear.

The Humane Society has come up with what they say are seven essential tips to ensure pets are secure and comfortable during celebrations.

Fireworks safety tips for pets:

  • Take your pet for a long walk before the festivities begin to tire them out.
  • Make sure your pet is wearing a collar with your current contact information.
  • Leave your pet at home with all the windows securely closed and all shades drawn.
  • Make sure your pet is microchipped and your information is registered.
  • Leave your pet with something to play with, like a frozen Kong stuffed with treats.
  • Resist the urge to bring your pet with you to the festivities.
  • If your pet is extremely anxious, consult with your vet about giving a mild sedative.

“We understand how stressful fireworks season can be for pets and their owners,” said Genny Brown, Executive Director for the Humane Society of St. Joseph County. “Our goal is to provide simple, effective tips that can help keep our furry friends safe and make this a stress-free holiday for everyone.

The Humane Society encourages pet owners to take the necessary steps to protect their pets.

You can find Indiana's fireworks laws here and Michigan's here.

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