Friday, December 10, 2010

Posttraumatic Stress in Aging World War II

Inge Bramsen, Henk M. van der Ploeg, and Maarten Boers VU University Medical Center
Journal of Traumatic Stress, Apr2006, Vol. 19 Issue 2, p291-300; , 10p, 1 Chart, 1 Graph

Here is a great article I came across that was very informational.  Please take the time to understand the relationship between PTSD and fireworks.

Abstract:
Little is known about the effects of cumulative trauma and whether traumatized individuals are more vulnerable. In 2000, a fireworks disaster created the possibility to examine this issue among WorldWar II survivors who were part of an ongoing longitudinal study. Between 1998 and 2000 posttraumatic stress increased in disaster exposed respondents as opposed to the control group.War-related reexperiencing and avoidance also increased. The strongest increase occurred in disaster-exposed respondents who had low levels of wartime stress and a slight decrease occurred in those who had high wartime exposure. This unique controlled observation suggests that disasters do increase the levels of posttraumatic stress, and that reactivation of previous traumatic events generally occurs. However, the vulnerability hypothesis was not supported.

Posted by: Jennifer Mount

Thursday, December 9, 2010

TNT Company



TNT Company

After reviewing the company website for TNT Fireworks, I was sickened by the fact that there was not information about safety or the possible injuries/effects caused by their products.

What I did find was that, rather than necessary info relating to safety, all that had to offer were size of effect (the color part), coupons to purchase the product, and where to buy the product. Granted there was a small sentence stating that TNT works with the local government and promotes educational programs in schools.

This is great and all, but what seems to be more disturbing is that rather than putting safety information on their site for references, they promote what they do for charities and the youth of today.  So often you see companies showing a soft side so the have the good publicity, but when there is a fall out or injury occurs from a product they produce, they do not own up to what has happened.  Essentially using the good they do as a crutch. 

You can review the site here:

New Year’s Fireworks Permitted in Anchorage


I found an article dealing with a time slot allowing fireworks in Anchorage, AK that I felt made a very good point with regard to knowing how to operate fireworks. 

Granted, I know our project is focusing on the effects on war veterns and pets, we also touch on the injuries that are caused by fireworks and the illegal use of.

In this article, it takes about how allowing fireworks to be used during the Holidays at the very least, will give parents a chance to show their children how to operate fireworks safely.  We see all to often, the things that become untouchable cause the most amount of impact.  I remember early in the class that, the use of fireworks on New Year’s Eve or independence days as being the problem, but the times in between those. 

One area this article touched on the was the wildlife scene in the area, which of course makes up a lot of moose.  The ordiance laid out in the article, viewable below, outlines where you are able to use fireworks during the holiday to minimize the amount of stress it may cause to the wildlife.

• in any central business district core, primarily the Downtown area
• in any property zoned as part of the public lands and institutions district
• within 500 feet of any hotel, motel, health care or assisted living facility, library, school, or church
• within 500 feet of any gas station
• in any location designated as a "noise-sensitive zone"
• in any location determined by the municipality to pose a fire danger

This blog was written with the use of the following article:

Avondale, AZ Restricts Use of Fireworks


According to AZCentral.com, residents of Avondale AZ will not longer be able to use fireworks, expect for what they call the deregulated kind.

The deregulated kind include snappers, snap caps, snakes, and sparklers; not to mention a handful of other items.

This law went into effect on Monday Dec 1st with a 6-1 council vote. As the Mayor states had local control been more effective in control the use of fireworks, this type of law would not have come to pass the way it has.

Avondale, AZ in using this law in hopes of showing just how far they will go to in order to stop the use of fireworks as well as show legislation that they can’t be pushed around. 

Not all of the residents are happy with this law that has been passed, not even Jason Colt who operates firework stands there. Colt cites 1 death and 40 injuries due to the use of fireworks and compares them to the number of bicycle  accidents in 2008.  There is not comparison to the difference, but what is not being looked at is the number of veterans/pets that are affected due to the disruption they cause. 

The law passed is not one that carries a small fine either, but is looked at with criminal intent making those liable for the fine and emergency response cost.

This Blog was written with the use of the below article.

http://www.azcentral.com/community/swvalley/articles/2010/12/09/20101209avondale-fireworks-law.html

Firework Factories

After 491 people voted, Gharb has decided against building any additional firework factories in their area.  The local council called a meeting in response to the tragedy that struck last September when six people were killed by an explosion at a fireworks factory.

The vote showed that sixty percent of the population was against granting any new permits for these factories while forty percent were in favor.

The vote was called because a few of the council members had conflicts of interest and the government was interested in seeing what the people in the village thought. There is one pending application for a firework factory at the moment.

Though the people have voted, no decision has been made.  After the vote is discussed and presented to the authorities, there will be no new firework factories built in that area.

Dangerous Fireworks Imported

A Kansas fireworks company, Jake’s Fireworks, is being fined $100,000 for importing consumer fireworks that don’t meet federal regulations. This settlement resolves some allegations that this company and its affiliates have imported more than 200,000 consumer fireworks over two years (2006 and 2007) that were hazardous and did not meet safety regulations.

Jake’s Fireworks affiliates are listed as Far East Imports Inc. and Wholesale Fireworks Enterprises LLC, in Kansas.      And a bit closer to home, from Aberdeen, WA, is Pacific Northwest Fireworks Inc.

When the fireworks were confiscated and tested upon entering the united states, they were found to have too much of the chemical which causes blast of the firework to be deemed safe. 

The fireworks that have not yet been sold are to be destroyed within the next six months or these companies will face further charges.

Because the companies reached a settlement, they are denying that that they broke any federal laws.

You can read an article about this here: http://cjonline.com/news/business/2010-12-08/jakes_fireworks_faces_steep_fine

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Firework Safety Study

In 2007, a study was conducted by Audrey Smargiassi, a professor at the University of Montreal Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, to examine the emissions of fireworks.  She wanted to examine the composition of the gases that were emitted along with concentration of particles.  What was unique about her study was that she collected her data below the fireworks, at the distance where spectators usually stand.  Studies previous to this one collected their data from rooftops in the surrounding area from where the fireworks had been set off.

The study was conducted during nine separate firework shows at La Ronde amusement park where an international firework competition is conducted each year.

Smargiassi found that the particles emitted from these fireworks were incredibly small and therefore much more likely to enter the respiratory system.  The amusement park recommended that people with respiratory problems leave the park during these firework shows.  Smargiassi recommends that people with cardiovascular problems also avoid the smoke from fireworks.

The particles that cause problems were primarily potassium, manganese, titanium, chlorine, and aluminum.

To read more about this study, visit: http://www.physorg.com/news/2010-12-high-toxic-particles-fireworks.html

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

New Chines Safety Strategy



In 1993, fireworks were banned completely in Beijing but in 2005, the bureau said fireworks could be lit between Spring Festival Eve and the Lantern Festival.According to a document released by the city's safety watchdog, all fireworks stalls within the Fifth Ring Road will be numbered with a 13-digit code to help with monitoring and management.And the arch-roofed sheds in which residents gathered to buy fireworks will be replaced with fireproof stalls.The exhibition and sales area and the stock area in the stalls will be separated by fire-proof materials. Low temperature and explosion-proof lights will also be mandatory."Electronic eyes" will also play an important role in fireworks management. The bureau is encouraging all fireworks stalls to be equipped with closed-circuit television cameras, which some sellers pioneered a few years earlier.

Affect of Fire works on veterans


On the fourth of July. Many veterans tend to escape from fireworks. Theses veteran have old experiences from minefield explodes.  They find heading to quiet campsites, small family gatherings or the basement with earphones, the best for them and they do that because they usually pre-stage their dreams before bed, visualizing different endings.
 During the 4th of July depression, anxiety and drinking happened to increase more, According to two-tour military psychologist who manages the PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), says” This time of year stressful—period.  Not to mention that the fourth of July also, is a huge flashback for pain and suffer that veteran suffered too.  According to Sardo, Many veterans are bothered less by the booms than the deeper questions the displays raise about what it means to go to war and lose a limb, friends or a view of the world as a healthy place.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Defining Your Sustainable Philosophy

Spatial and temporal equity are essential factors with regards to any sustainable philosophy, but what factors lead to and are consequences of its implementation? If sustainability does generate the most net utility and even necessitates the long-term survival of the human species, how must a society compensate for and be persuaded to abide by its policies?

It is human nature to seek out short-term prosperity and ‘discount’ future needs, particularly if the benefits of the self-sacrifice are completely intangible. For example, the effects of global climate change will likely not dramatically affect anyone alive today, therefore, why should we even care? For intergenerational equity and even equality to exist, market incentives must drive consumer demand on the micro and macro scale.

The social constructs required for any significant movement towards sustainability encompasses social cohesion at profound and historically supreme levels. It must be of singular importance starting from the individual and the regional population, up through the business and industrial sectors, and onwards to the international community.

The economy represents perhaps the most critical component of an implementation strategy. For the common person, the effect on their pocketbook embodies their most significant and palpable concern, for which the vast majority are not willing to negotiation. Therefore, every strategy should avoid the two primary types of market failures: the destruction of public goods and externalities.

The destruction of public goods is a crucial element for sustainability. The Tragedy of the Commons explains that unregulated extraction of a finite resource may be advantageous in the short-term, but overexploitation can be devastating in the long run. The ‘tragedy’ is that each individual enterprise is utilizing a finite resource of which many are dependant, thus, its depletion has far-reaching consequences.

Externalities, or the indirect rippling effect(s) of an action onto a third party, can negatively impact numerous facets of the environment and a sustainable philosophy. For example, an oil refinery may reap the most profit by dumping waste byproducts into nearby waterways. But subsequently, this pollution may adversely affect agriculture downstream that depends on clean water to nourish its crops. In this sense, by ignoring the externalities of their enterprise, the oil refinery maximizes market success by reducing their costs to the consumer. In the current market-based capitalist society, such action may be frowned upon, but competition encourages, if not necessitates it.

Currently, the “shadow price” as its known (i.e. – the ‘real’ cost of a product as defined by its externalities), does not trickle its way down to the consumer, but rather gets swallowed-up by the unfortunate third party bystander. This means that consumers are benefiting from a less costly product whose production may encompass immoral practices that are harmful to the environment. More significantly however, these consumers purchase that product because it is less expensive, thereby encouraging companies to ignore their externalities.

This truism resides on the fact that for sustainability to achieved and market failures to be avoided internalization of these externalities must be imposed by legislative policy. This would discourage consumers from purchasing expensive and environmentally destructive products and consequently encourage producers to pursue environmentally friendly and sustainable alternatives.

There is no perfect method for the implementation of a long-term sustainable solution. Significant social, economic, and moral challenges must first be overcome before the Tragedy of the Commons may be alleviated. While the most successful strategies will be implemented at the global level, inspiration must first hail from individual action.

For further insight into the tragedy of the commons:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tragedy_of_the_commons

For Further insight into Externalities:
http://www.externalities.net/

Understanding Fireworks Through Thermodynamics and Chemistry

For centuries, fireworks have produced intense feelings of excitement, joy, and wonder. But what chemical and thermodynamic properties actually describe the sites and sounds of this process? In this post I will describe the basic chemical processes occurring within the combustion of fireworks as well as the ensuing visual displays.

First, in order to understand the underlying principles, you must understand the basic structure of a firework. Located within the firework are 4 primary components: an oxidizing agent, a reducing agent, a coloring agent, and a binding agent. The oxidizing agent supplies the oxygen necessary for combustion, the reducing agent burns the oxygen released by the oxidizer, the coloring agent absorbs the energy and reradiates photons of a specific wavelength, and the binders maintain the intermolecular structure and organization of these agents.

What processes are responsible for the firework’s explosive power? The answer lies within the chemistry of the materials. In order for combustion to occur, there must be oxygen. Oxygen is supplied to the firework by way of an oxidizer that may come in the form of a nitrate, chlorate, or perchlorate. Potassium nitrate (KNO3), the active oxidizer found in black powder, is able to supply two of its three oxygen atoms per molecule as defined by the balanced oxidation equation for potassium nitrate (1). Potassium perchlorate (KClO4) on the other hand, is able to supply all 4 oxygen atoms because the chlorine atom can bond an additional oxygen atom, thereby making it a superior oxidizer (2).

(1): 4 KNO3 → 2 K2O + 2 N2 + 5 O2

(2): 4 KClO4 → 4 KCl + 8 O2

Next, the reducing agents rapidly bond with the free oxygen molecules to create stable compounds. These stable compounds are found after combustion has occurred and act as a benchmark for understanding the total release of energy. All molecular bonds have a quantity of energy contained within them, known as their bond energy. When a chemical reaction occurs that results in molecules with a different bond energies being created, the difference in bond energies describes the amount of total energy released. Therefore, it is this exothermic release of energy that we recognize as the firework’s explosion. This process of oxidation and reduction can be demonstrated by the balanced chemical equation for the combustion of black power:

2 KNO3 + S + 3 C → K2S + N2 + 3 CO2.

How then, can different colors be created through processes like these? Once again the answer lies within the type of materials used. All materials absorb radiation and then reradiate in back out to achieve an equilibrium. When we imagine the atomic structure of an atom, it contains protons, neutrons, and electrons. The electrons circle around the nucleus (composed of the neutrons and protons) at different ranges known as orbitals.

When an atom is stable, its electrons circle around the nucleus in their “ground state.” This means that the electrons flow around the nucleus in the lowest possible stable orbital associated with that particular atom. If however, the atom is unstable, then it is in an “excited state” and the electrons circle around the nucleus at higher orbitals. The emission of light occurs when an atom’s electrons decrease orbital levels from an excited state to a less energetic or ground state.

When different elements decrease orbital states, they release different wavelengths of light, thus displaying the ROYGBV spectrum of color. Red hues for example, which have a wavelength of approximately 652nm, are produced by the decrease of electron states of strontium or lithium compounds, whereas sodium compounds, which have a wavelength of approximately 615nm, produce yellows, and coppers compounds produce blues.

The molecular and thermodynmic properties of fireworks is extremely complex and influenced by numerous contextual factors. The oxidation and subsequent reduction of the right chemicals can result in not only large concussive explosions, but also dazzling displays of light. By manipulating these fundamental principles of material science you can create a truly awe-inspiring chemical performance.

For continued inquiry please explore, “The Chemistry of Fireworks” by Michael S. Russel, found online at:

http://books.google.com/books?id=yxRyOf8jFeQC&lpg=PA27&ots=COHVulrQ-3&dq=black%20powder%20%2B%20atmospheric%20chemistry&pg=PA26#v=onepage&q&f=false

Integral Ecology: Finding a Spiritual Connection to the Environment

Humankind’s connection to nature is all too often viewed through anthropocentric lenses. We, as a population, consistently overlook our necessary dependence upon not only the finite material yield of the earth, but also the more macrocosmic interrelations of our planet. We harvest earthly resources, dominate the landscape with agriculture and industry, and pollute our rivers and streams with little understanding of the long-term additive and possibly multiplicative consequences. More fundamentally however, as our lives becomes busier and our relationships with the environment more distant, we often fail to recognize any potential spiritual connection to nature. We habitually develop our conceptions of self within social and political frameworks that marginalize the value of the natural environment beyond its exploitative capacity.

In comparison to my own individual upbringing and relationship with the environment, I understand how it can be easy, even personally beneficial, to ignore the true importance of environmental wellbeing. Within the current structure of society ‘doing the right thing’ may require extra effort, money, time, and even knowledge that many cannot afford. A significant factor that I believe contributes to environmental complacency is the fact that the vast majority of environmental degradation accrued by the individual is not directly witnessed by that individual. For example, everyday we are provided with the option of recycling. Whether we choose to recycle or not, rarely has any tangible impact on our daily lives. We are not witness to the animals caught in plastic soda containers, or the ecosystems poisoned by the chemicals leaking from batteries, or the extras trees cut down for paper supplies. It is our disconnection with the environment that allows us to live in blissful ignorance of the true harm we may be causing.

Integral Ecology is an environmental philosophy that aims to provide a comprehensive perspective regarding issues of environmental and social concern. It can be applied to the study of subjective and objective aspects of organisms in relationship to their intersubjective and interobjective environments. Of central focus are the four-quadrants through which these environments are viewed: the “I,” the “we,” the “it,” and the “its.”

The framework of integral ecology categorizes perspective and experience on multiple levels, differentiating between the individual (subjective “I”) and the collective (intersubjective “we”) consciousnesses. Similarly, this definition extends to the scientific world as a differentiation between the objective microcosmic realm (“it”), and the interobjective macrocosmic realm (“its”). This philosophy seeks to create a comprehensive approach to understanding the environment as an infinitely interconnected system supported not simply through objective science, but also through subjective human experience. It is this subjective human experience that must be developed in order for a more respectful and harmonious relationship with nature to be realized.

The ever-growing complexity of our lives today makes it harder and harder to live a life in close connection to nature. Everyday we are forced to make decisions regarding environmentalism, whether we can directly see the consequences of our actions or not. Even though contemporary tradition appears to foster the concept that man can, and even should, exploit nature, it must be understood that in order to achieve a sustainable future we must live in cooperation with the environment. This begins by understanding ecological functions and appreciating every aspect of nature for its intrinsic value. Sure enough through understanding our society will be better able to embrace, respect, and value the natural environment for what its truly worth.

For more insight regarding Integral Ecology visit the website at:

http://www.integralecology.org/default.html

Applying Multiple Intelligences

Understanding “intelligence” as multilayered and multifaceted is fundamental in the construction of a successful blog and website. Because scientific study into human cognition has debunked the standard “bell curve” view of intelligence, we must adopt a more complex and deliberate form of rhetoric. By understanding the concept of “multiple intelligences,” it is possible to optimally utilize the “seven levers of mind change,” as well as the “four entities of mind change,” towards a more effective blog and website.

The seven levers of mind change (reason, research, resources and rewards, real world events, representational redescriptions, resonance, and resistance (Gardner; 15-19)) are the primary conduits through which the human brain accepts a change of opinion, and the four entities of mind change (concepts, stories, theories, and skills (Gardner; 19-22)) are the primary agents of change for each lever.

In this way, we can optimize the effectiveness of each lever by employing the four entities of mind change for each. This would be a very effective method because, as claimed by Gardner, “presenting multiple versions of the same concept can be an extremely powerful way to change someone’s mind” (10). Therefore, for each bit of information our blog/website tries to impart on the viewer, all seven levers of mind change should employed, each of which is corroborated by the four entities of mind change.

Now, getting to intelligence: Certain forms of intelligence are largely inaccessible through the internet medium (bodily-kinesthetic for example), while other are much more accessible (such as linguistic). In order for a blog/website to be successful, it must appeal to as many intelligences as possible because, also according to Gardner, “the more of an individual’s intelligences you can appeal to when making an argument, the more likely you are to change a person’s mind, and the more minds you are likely to change” (30). Therefore, on top of the seven levers and four entities, the blog should attempt to appeal to analyst, noncanonical, personal, and existentialist intelligences, as well as each of their subcatagories.

While the optimal utilization of multiple intelligences may appear a daunting task, it can be accomplished in very subtle ways. Advertising agencies employ these tricks-of-the-trade on a regular basis and are able to influence society on very powerful subconscious levels. By understanding intelligence and its multiple levels you possess a persuasive tool for effective mind change and the potential to create a highly successful website and blog.

Think again!

Fireworks have a lot of negative effects. Some fireworks are legal and some are illegal. It is important to know these things if you are going to let off fireworks. Please read all of the important information because you can save a person’s life or help a person from getting injured. You can also help our environment. The next four sentences deals with illegal fireworks and their protocol.
• Cherry bombs, M-80s, M-100s, and silver salutes are all illegal explosives in all states
• Any firecrackers containing more than 50 milligrams (about 1/6th the weight of a typical aspirin tablet) of powder are illegal to use in any state.
• To identify LEGAL FIREWORKS, look for a manufacturer's name on each item or on the box in which they were packaged.
• If you suspect anyone selling or using illegal fireworks, you can call 1-888-ATF-BOMB to report it
The following website can help you determine what fireworks are illegal in your state:

http://www.americanpyro.com/State%20Laws%20(main)/statelaws.html

If you live in Oregon and must let off fireworks please read the following information From the Oregon State Fire Marshal:
Legal fireworks produce only smoke, sparks or fire. Examples are base fountains, cone fountains, wheels and ground bloom flowers.
Illegal fireworks explode, eject balls of fire, fly into the air or travel more than six feet on the ground or 12 inches into the air. Examples are missile rockets, aerial spinners, mortars, bottle rockets, firecrackers and roman candles. M80s, M100s and cherry bombs are considered explosive devices (not fireworks) and are illegal as well.
Also, be aware that fireworks are prohibited on all beaches and at all state parks in Oregon

This is a video from the Portland Fire Bureau in Oregon:http://www.katu.com/news/20642554.html?tab=video

Did you know that fireworks are dangerous to not only the people lighting them but, the people watching them. Fireworks can cause temporary or permanent hearing loss, reduced or lost vision, high blood pressure, heart attacks and, respiratory problems like asthma or bronchitis. There is also toxins that are released when they are lit that can cause cancer. Not to mention that there is 1000 t of waste annually.

Fireworks can affect our environment worldwide. The main ingredient in fireworks is gunpowder and mixed with other ingredient gives off a reaction that is generally solid. These solids consist of metal oxides and occasionally chlorides. This mixture is what pollutes the air. Fireworks also contribute to water supply contamination and even acid rain. Our pets and the people that fight for our country in the military are also affected. So the big question. Do we really need fireworks? Think again?

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Traumatised Vets need our support...

To most Americans, celebrating with their families on the Fourth, fireworks represent one gigantic surge of pyrotechnic patriotism, awing small children and grownups alike as they soar into the air and explode with fabulous colors and ear-popping, ground-shaking reverberations. It's America's birthday, after all, but in place of the cake and candles we get...concerts, barbecues, parades and FIREWORKS!

For the combat veteran, however...and only approximately 11% of our population has served in the military...fireworks can remind them a little too much of the sights and sounds of combat. Many combat veterans, especially those with PTSD, find themselves dreading the Fourth and the fireworks in particular; and often find themselves unable to explain this (satisfactorily) to family and friends. Quite a few vets make plans beforehand to "head to their bunkers," and not come out until it's over. Others talk about how their own veteran dads, growing up, spent the holiday every year, in a haze of drugs or alcohol, waiting out the celebration. Some veterans feel bad about not being able to join in the celebration, but they can't; and some families of affected combat veterans wonder whether to leave their veteran home while they go enjoy the show...or miss the celebration themselves while not being able to bridge the gap with what their loved one is experiencing.
To support these traumatized veterans, support groups have put up websites like the http://www.healingcombattrauma.com to help these vets express how they feel and help them be heard so they can create awareness and deal better with this trauma:

“A great comment in a panel discussion by veterans on re-integration, where one veteran was discussing how being asked the wrong questions can put him on the defensive and elicit an undesired response, thanks in part to military training and the normal reaction to being backed into a corner. "When rifles are no longer involved, words can become your bullets," he said.
For anyone who's ever been on either the "giving" or the "receiving" side of a difficult, heated conversation where it felt like life or identity was at stake, it's easy to understand exactly what he meant. It's also, obviously, not a prescription for harmonious communication that resolves issues effectively. For that, very different communication styles and skills are necessary. We try to cover that here from time to time, when we find someone with a worthwhile and constructive point of view -- and experience in the trenches, either as a veteran or a spouse of a veteran with PTSD.”


By Abhi Batra

Drumming Instead of Fireworks

Drumming Instead is a grassroots organization started in 2010 to promote the act of drumming instead of setting off fireworks on holidays. According to their website:

"Drumming Instead is a grassroots project, which grew out of a concern for our world and its inhabitants, along with a desire to continue some form of celebration instead of fireworks. Many of us have fond memories of our youth and being taken to watch fireworks, whether that be at special events or holiday celebrations. We may have similar memories that have continued well into adulthood.

With reports of the devastating results of human choices on our environment, it is very clear that we need to make far better choices from now on. One of those choices is to replace fireworks with drumming.
Fireworks utilize our natural resources, basically, for entertainment. This form of entertainment is a luxury we can no longer afford. In addition to using resources, the fireworks pollute the air, ground, and water. They also create noise pollution: they create unnaturally harsh explosive sounds, which frighten, even terrorize, wild and domestic animals. The highly sensitive hearing of non-human animals may be damaged by the explosive sounds. Firework debris, which ends up in our streams, lakes, and oceans, may be consumed by marine animals, which could result in sickness or death.

In addition, there are health concerns. There are often increases in reports of asthma attacks around the times of fireworks, not to mention the direct injuries, even deaths, caused by fireworks (there are thousands of fireworks-related injuries annually in the U.S.). Fireworks are also responsible for the fire damage caused by the thousands of fires they cause annually.

As the dominant species on this planet, we humans have an inherent responsibility to make better choices for this world. We can no longer make selfish choices for our own entertainment at the expense of the planet and its inhabitants.

Our wish is to replace the tradition of fireworks (which many recognize as obsolete) with community drumming. This could be in the form of drumming circles or drumming parades/marches, etc. Families, neighborhoods, or entire cities can gather with their drums for special occasions. The drums could range from small bongo drums to large Taiko drums. Instead of just being observers, everyone present has the opportunity to be a participant. While our focus is drumming, other wooden percussion instruments could be used, such as wood blocks."

To read more about this organization and what learn what you can do to help, please visit http://www.drumminginstead.org/

Posted By: Jessica Hadduck

Friday, December 3, 2010

Banned fireworks give Midlands soldier a PTSD flashback

The armed forces of the United States risks their lives in faraway places that we have never seen in order to protect our country and the people of other countries at the same time. Their lives are dedicated to keeping and spreading freedom around the world. They spend a lot of their time avoiding roadside bombs and dodging bullets, all things that make sudden, loud noises. In part because of these experiences, many soldiers returning home to the United States are afflicted by post-traumatic stress disorder. It’s important to remember, too, that the United States is not the only place on earth where members of the military are fighting for freedom, peace, and the protection of an entire country’s people. And it is also important to remember that American soldiers are not the only military members who leave active warfare and return home to develop post-traumatic stress disorder. This is important because fireworks are not unique to the United States, but are used in countries around the world.

Fireworks can cause “painful memories for veterans home from war,” according to an article on WISTV.com, titled “Banned fireworks give Midlands soldier a PTSD flashback.” Sandler, the author of the article, explained that a soldier with PTSD suffered a flashback attack on the weekend of July 4th when fireworks were set off in his neighborhood. Sandler quoted Army Specialist Chase Brown as saying, “I didn’t really understand what was going on around me because in my mind I wasn’t here. In my mind I was in Iraq.”

It isn’t that fireworks should be completely banned and that no one should be allowed to enjoy them on the Fourth of July, for Olympic celebrations, and on other holidays. But shooting off illegal fireworks in residential areas can cause a lot of emotional distress to others, especially veterans who have risked their lives for the very people in their neighborhood. Out of courtesy, we should think about who we might be affecting before we act.

Read Sandler’s article at http://www.wistv.com/global/story.asp?s=10673793

Posted by (Abdulelah Alruwaished)

Fireworks-Related Injuries & Deaths in the United States

Imagine it … you are out at a family barbecue for the Fourth of July or Memorial Day, and you have purchased some illegal fireworks to shoot off after it gets dark outside to entertain your family, especially the kids. You have also purchases sparklers for the kids and you know that your 5-year-old niece will love the different colored sparklers you bought, too.

Wait! Before you light them, consider an article posted on The Trauma Foundation website. The article states, “8,800 people were treated in emergency departments for fireworks-related injuries. Four people died from these injuries. Fifty percent of fireworks injuried occurred among children 14 years and younger. Seventy-five percent of fireworks injuries occurred among boys as compared to 25% among gilrs. More than half of the injuries (66%) involved burns; the hands and fingers (32%), eyes (21%), and the head and face (17%) were the part so the body most frequently injured.”

Even more frightening is that a sparkler can actually reach a temperature of up to 1000 degrees Fahrenheit. Little children all over the United States can be seen running around with sparklers, practically unsupervised. Do parents know how dangerous they can be?

Fireworks are so dangerous and cause so many injuries that injuries have cost approximately $100 million annually in the United States. The article also has a map of states that have banned the sale of fireworks, and these states have also reported diminished firework related injuries in emergency rooms. Individual states can also place restrictions on what types of fireworks are able to be bought. What is the best way to stop little kids from running around with sparklers? The article states that federal regulations are needed, but I think education is the best way to stop the spread of injury. Parents need to understand the real dangers to their children!

Check the article out at http://www.traumaf.org/featured/6-29-04fireworks.html

Posted by (Abdulelah Alruwaished)

Two shot in Overton Park amid families, fireworks

Urban legends are stories that are spread throughout generations and cultures, usually falsehoods that contain some element of horror or danger. That’s what masking gunfire with fireworks is, right? It’s just an urban legend that when fireworks are planned, people get shot because the shooters are using the sound of the fireworks to cover up the gunfire. Even though fireworks are loud, they cannot cover up the noise of a gun.

Nikki Bussey, in “Two shot in Overton Park amid families, fireworks,” came up with some support for the urban legend. Bussey wrote, “A man shot a woman, then turned the gun on himself in Overton Park on Friday afternoon while families picnicked nearby and children frolicked in a playground.” What was the scariest part of the story? That all of those families and children did not hear a thing! While some witnesses said they recognized the sounds as gunshots, other witnesses “sat at picnic tables, seemingly unaware of what had happened.” Memphis police Major Terry Landrum told Bussey the event could have been orchestrated to happen during the fireworks for that reason. According to the article, Landrum stated, “Occasionally, you’ll hear a firecracker [he said]. That can mask the sound of a gunshot.”

When fireworks are set off during city, town, or other major celebrations, some element of security is somehow enforced or there is at least a police presence. But when illegal fireworks are shot off in backyards, there is no way to tell if it was just someone having fun or if someone is trying to mask gun shots. In any case, not allowing for fireworks to be sold to the general public would certainly take the guess work out of it!

Read Bussey’s article on masking gunfire with fireworks at

http://www.commercialappeal.com/news/2008/jul/05/two-shot-in-overton-park-amid-families-fireworks/?print=1

Posted By (Abdulelah Alruwaished)

Caregiving: Fireworks and PTSD

There are a lot of noises that can bother veterans and bring back anxiety and painful memories of their time in combat. In an article on UPI, Alex Cukan pointed out that “thunderstorms, construction blasts and fireworks” are all potential triggers for bringing back horrific memories to veterans. The noises can result in symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder that include “intrusive recollections, distressing dreams, feeling the trauma is recurring, difficulty falling or staying asleep, irritability and outbursts of anger, hypervigilance and exaggerated startle response.” Part of the problem with fireworks is that they can be unexpected. When large celebrations that involve fireworks are planned, and individuals with post-traumatic stress disorder are able to avoid the scene. The article even gave some suggestions if someone lives close to firework displays that could exacerbate current conditions, such as going to see a movie in a loud, air-conditioned theater. But, when fireworks are not planned, and people just decide to shoot them off in their own neighborhoods, people with PTSD are not able to make arrangements to avoid the loud, unexpected noises that could potentially trigger a bad response.

Veterans are not the only people who may suffer adverse effects from fireworks being let off without permission, permits, or notice. The article pointed out anyone who has been the victim of “a traumatic event that either involved the threat of death or great bodily injury to another or themselves – from war, mugging, cancer, car accident,” could suffer from PTSD, and their reactions could “involve fear, helplessness, or horror.” So while veterans may be the most likely or most recognized candidates for PTSD, a neighbor who lives in your neighborhood who was a victim of a violent crime involving a gun could also suffer the same as a veteran if you shoot off fireworks without thinking about it first.

Read the article at
http://www.upi.com/Health_News/2010/07/01/Caregiving-Fireworks-and-PTSD/UPI-28161277972280/

Posted by (Abdulelah Alruwaished)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Keeping Your Pet Safe During Fireworks

Fireworks upset pets as a result of the noise, smell of sulfur, and flashing lights. The article below offers ten steps to ensure your pet stays safe and happy during the holidays.

1. Know when fireworks will be happening and how they'll impact your home. Check that your pets' ID tags and microchips are in date. If your pet does go running off during fireworks events, it's much easier to be able to identify its ownership with these features.

2. Desentisation of noises helps to prevent a phobia of loud noises, use a cd like Sounds Scary, well before the firework season, or after the event.

3. Prepare the house. Keep some lights on. Keeping a light on will calm your pet and make him feel more secure, rather than being scared in a dark room. Dampen the noise. Close the curtains in the room and, if your animal is a caged one, cover up the cage in a thick blanket, but make sure it is breathable so your animal doesn't suffocate. This will also help to stop the flashes of light affecting your pet. Plan to use familiar sounds to drown out the noise of the fireworks. Music from a stereo or turning on the TV are likely familiar sounds that can sooth your pet.

4. Prepare the room. Select a suitable room where you will contain the pets for the duration of the fireworks. An inner room that is least impacted by the noise is ideal.
-Make the room cozy.
-Ensure that the room temperature is pleasant
-Consider whether sound might be soothing. If your pet is used to music, turn some on at normal volume.
-Remove any sharp items from the room in case your pet starts jumping or running around.

5. Prepare yourself. In the desire to ease our pet's pain, sometimes we can transfer some of our anxiety and upset to the pet. If you've prepared properly in advance, there is no need to feel upset and worried as you can be reassured about the safety of your pet.

6. Confine your pet. Half an hour to an hour before the fireworks are due to be set off, place your pet into the chosen room.

7. Provide food and hydration. Be sure to leave sufficient water and food for your pet in the confinement space. Many pets will be uneasy, or even frantic. If your pet has access to water, it will help calm him, and food supplied in your pet's regular portion will make him feel like it's a normal day.

8. Keep an eye on your pet, and if possible, stay with her. Comfort her and talk to her. Be friendly but don't fuss over her too much; this can increase her anxiety if she picks up on yours and can reward and encourage fearful behavior.

9. Check on your pet after the fireworks. Reassure him and remove the protection (blankets, etc.) as long as you're sure that the loud fireworks are over. Check for signs of stress in your pet:
-For cats, signs of stress include running away, soiling the house, hiding away and refusing to eat.
-For dogs, signs of stress include barking a lot, running away, soiling the house, hiding and cowering, clinging to owners, whimpering, trembling and shaking, pacing and panting, and refusing to eat.
-If your pet is stressed, keep him indoors overnight. Keep a litter tray somewhere in the house, or walk a dog after the fireworks but don't let him off his harness and be sure to stay with him the whole time.

10. Do a yard sweep before letting your pets back outside. Collect any sparklers, firecrackers, etc., as well as party items and broken objects. This will prevent your pet from being injured by unfamiliar objects.

To read further, please visit http://www.wikihow.com/Look-After-Pets-During-Fireworks

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Fireworks can send your pets running; take precautions

By: Jacques Von Lunen

It's the busiest time of the year for animal shelters. No, not Christmas. The Fourth of July.

The fireworks extravaganzas that delight humans scare many animals --so much that they blindly run away from the noise and end up in shelters or emergency rooms.

"Traditionally, it's our biggest week," says John Rowton, spokesman for Multnomah County Animal Services. "We see a lot of frightened dogs."

While all animals fear loud noises, dogs have the most freedom to run around and are often taken to fireworks displays. They are the pets most likely to end up in trouble.

The number of lost dogs dropped off at the Multnomah County shelter in Troutdale jumps by about 50 percent that weekend. The increase is even more dramatic in Washington County.

"Our shelter count doubles around the Fourth," says Deborah Wood, manager of the Bonnie L. Hays Animal Shelter in Hillsboro. "It's our busiest time of the year."

Running from explosions only to end up spending the weekend in a shelter cage is frightening and confusing for a dog. But that's not the worst fate.

***To read the rest of the article please go to:
http://www.oregonlive.com/pets/index.ssf/2009/06/fireworks_can_send_your_pets_r.html
Jacques Von Lunen also blogs about pets at oregonlive.com/pets. To reach him, e-mail pets@jvonlunen.com

Posted By: Jennifer Mount

Thursday, November 25, 2010

PTSD and Fireworks

Memorial Day may be the beginning of summer, but Independence Day is the unofficial beginning of firecracker season, which can be hard on military veterans, the elderly and pets.

Many vets experience terror from thunderstorms, construction blasts and fireworks, which can bring back painful memories, according to Katherine Smythe, a social worker at VA Medical Center in Buffalo, N.Y.

Although the scheduled fireworks sponsored by municipalities can sound like a firefight, some veterans say it is the individual firecrackers and noisemakers that continue during summer weekends that are the worst: They sound like gunfire and they're unexpected.

"When you're sitting on a blanket with your family with a cold drink in your hand and you're watching fireworks there's no mistaking where you are," a retired U.S. Army colonel who used to jump out of airplanes told UPI's Caregiving. "But it does bother some of my friends; it can be unnerving."

Dogs, cats and humans are subject to the startle response, according to Dr. Larry Lachman, a licensed clinical psychologist who practices cognitive-behavioral therapy for patients with PTSD.

"A person with post-traumatic stress disorder is exposed to a traumatic event that either involved the threat of death or great bodily injury to another or themselves -- from war, mugging, cancer, car accident," said Lachman. "The person's reactions involve fear, helplessness or horror."

PTSD generally involves some combination of the following: intrusive recollections, distressing dreams, feeling the trauma is recurring, difficulty falling or staying asleep, irritability and outbursts of anger, hypervigilance and exaggerated startle response.

Exposure to fireworks/firecrackers that sound like gunshots can lead to a relapse or exacerbation of those symptoms, Lachman said.

"Remember that PTSD is an exaggerated and sustained enhanced fight-flight survival response that is conditioned to 'stay on' following day-after-day death, destruction, gunshots, bombs and explosions, which require the soldiers to be on constant hypervigilance to survive," Lachman said.

"That type of behavioral conditioning won't go away quickly or by itself when returning home, especially if the veteran is exposed to cues that trigger the body and mind's conditioned response for survival and fighting and being alert."

Combat is not the only source of sensitivity. A couple of weeks after Sept. 11, 2001, police in Albany, N.Y., were inundated with calls -- many from the elderly -- because they thought a village outside the state capital was under attack.

Veterans can find assistance through PTSD veterans' groups, hospital programs, psychologists or doctors who, if necessary, can prescribe short-term medication, according to Lachman.

by Abhi Batra

Saturday, November 20, 2010

The National Council on Firework Safety

The National Council on Firework Safety operates a very informative and interesting website. They offer a various number of safety tips as well as resources, and even a safety quiz you can take to test your knowledge on how to safely handle firworks!

There is also a safety public service announcement video by former President George Bush, graphs and tables on firework related injuries over the past several years, which it's great to note that the number of injuries has been declining!

To curve the use of illegal fireworks their website also offers a way, through an online form, to report illegal explosives to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Visit their website and see all the information that they have to offer!

Remember Our Veterans this New Years Eve

With New Years Eve fast approaching some of us may plan to celebrate by setting off some fireworks at the stroke of midnight. To most, this may seem a harmless way to ring in the new year but for many veterans explosions in the middle of the night can cause flashbacks and bring back painful memories. The article below was written by Dana Blado and can be found at http://www.wjfw.com/stories.html?sku=20100702181841.

Fireworks and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
RHINELANDER - July 4th is a holiday when we celebrate our nation's birthday and those who selflessly fought for her. But it can also be a dreaded day for some veterans, especially for someone who's been in combat warfare.

One veteran shares how this holiday can have a different meaning. Jacob Lobermeier served his country in the Middle East as a platoon leader in combat warfare.

While he says he doesn't suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, he says the effects of his experiences are long-lasting. "Things that you see, decisions that you make, friends that you've lost. And those things stay with you. You're never the same after as you were before."

And those memories can return in a split second with things like the common bang of 4th of July fireworks. Oneida County Veterans' Service Officer Tammy Walters says this is more common than you may think. "I know veterans that literally dread the 4th of July, dread it. I've had veterans tell me that they won't come to the Memorial Day Ceremony because they know we shoot guns at the ceremony."

It's something Walters says the average person should consider. "If people know that they have a combat veteran living near them, that maybe they talk to them and ask them how it may affect them."

Another reason Gauthier says to be considerate of others, especially veterans. "These large explosions that happen in the middle of the night or when they're sleeping can really ruin their weekend."

It's the little everyday struggles, Jacob says, that can make a big difference. "Being next to like a diesel truck, smelling that exhaust reminds me of waiting to go on patrol with our humveys." They're memories Jacob says never go away, but can easily surface for some on Independence Day.

Tammy Walters with the Oneida County Veterans Office says about 60-80% of veterans suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Posted by: Jessica Hadduck

Thursday, November 18, 2010

10 Steps to help care for your pets during fireworks

1. Know when fireworks will be happening and how they'll impact your home. Contact your local municipality to find out when your area is likely to have fireworks. Mark the dates on a calendar so that you can keep track of when to ensure your pets are cared for. If you know or suspect that the fireworks will be heard at your house, take the precautions outlined in the following steps.

2. Desentisation of noises helps to prevent a phobia of loud noises, use a cd like Sounds Scary, well before the firework season, or after the event.

3. Prepare the house. The house becomes your pets' safety zone, so it's important to prepare it properly.

-Keep some lights on. Keeping a light on will calm your pet and make him feel more secure, rather than being scared in a dark room.
-Dampen the noise. Close the curtains in the room and, if your animal is a caged one, cover up the cage in a thick blanket, but make sure it is breathable so your animal doesn't suffocate. This will also help to stop the flashes of light affecting your pet.
-Plan to use familiar sounds to drown out the noise of the fireworks. Music from a stereo or turning on the TV are likely familiar sounds that can sooth your pet. Just make sure not to play these sounds ridiculously loud as they can become bothersome themselves.

4. Prepare the room. Select a suitable room where you will contain the pets for the duration of the fireworks. An inner room that is least impacted by the noise is ideal. It should be a room that you can close off to prevent your pet from running about the house and injuring itself, wrecking furniture, etc. If you have more than one pet, be sure they don't mind being confined in the same room, or select several rooms for different pets. For example, dogs and cats will usually appreciate being kept separate.

5. Prepare yourself. In the desire to ease our pet's pain, sometimes we can transfer some of our anxiety and upset to the pet. If you've prepared properly in advance, there is no need to feel upset and worried as you can be reassured about the safety of your pet.

6. Confine your pet. Half an hour to an hour before the fireworks are due to be set off, place your pet into the chosen room. If you're concerned about not being able to locate your pet (for example, cats aren't always easy to find), consider finding your pet several hours earlier. Mealtime is a good time to round up every pet, provided it falls before the fireworks are set off. If your dog needs a walk, be sure to walk her before confining her.
-Even if your pet is caged, place it into the secure and comfortable room you've selected.
-If your pet is a horse or other farm animal, make sure it has clean bedding and is inside the stable or barn.

7. Provide food and hydration. Be sure to leave sufficient water and food for your pet in the confinement space. Many pets will be uneasy, or even frantic. If your pet has access to water, it will help calm him, and food supplied in your pet's regular portion will make him feel like it's a normal day.

8. Keep an eye on your pet, and if possible, stay with her. Comfort her and talk to her. Be friendly but don't fuss over her too much; this can increase her anxiety if she picks up on yours and can reward and encourage fearful behavior.[4] If it's not possible to stay with her, (perhaps because you're out or busy (you may be at the firework display), don't worry - the previous steps should ensure that your pet has been adequately cared for.

9. Check on your pet after the fireworks. Reassure him and remove the protection (blankets, etc.) as long as you're sure that the loud fireworks are over. Let him have free run of the house to see how he behaves before considering letting him return outside (it might be best to wait until morning, if possible). Check for signs of stress in your pet:

-For cats, signs of stress include running away, soiling the house, hiding away and refusing to eat.
-For dogs, signs of stress include barking a lot, running away, soiling the house, hiding and cowering, clinging to owners, whimpering, trembling and shaking, pacing and panting, and refusing to eat.
-If your pet is stressed, keep him indoors overnight. Keep a litter tray somewhere in the house, or walk a dog after the fireworks but don't let him off his harness and be sure to stay with him the whole time.

10. Do a yard sweep before letting your pets back outside. Collect any sparklers, firecrackers, etc., as well as party items and broken objects. This will prevent your pet from being injured by unfamiliar objects.

by Abhi Batra

Terrified Dogs

Most of us have pets. In fact, according to the Humane society, about 39% of US households have at least one dog. These days especially, dogs are thought to be one of the family. they go on vacation with us, they have their own stockings to open for Christmas, they even have little coats and booties for when they get cold. The point is, it is obvious that american's love their pets. love them enough to spend 41 billion dollars per year on them (answers.com).


But do we love them enough to keep them safe?


more dogs are lost on the 4th of July than on any other year. often the dogs are left at home while the family is out with friends, or they are brought along and tied up out of the way. but they can still hear the crashing, the bashing, the banging, the horrible, terrifyingly loud noises that come with fireworks. and to a poor, worked up dog, those noises can be enough incentive to run away from their family and into the night; far away from the frightening sounds.


some are found, some are lost, but all of there situations cause heartache, confusion, and cost money. so this 4th of July, look out for those you care about; isn't their safety a priority?
for more information, visit: http://www.muttshack.org/MuttShack_news-fireworksfallout.htm


by Sophia Simmons

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

How Do Fireworks Work?

Firecrackers and sparklers function somewhat similarly to the large aerial fireworks you frequently see at 4th of July celebrations. Firecrackers are made up of gunpowder wrapped in a tight paper tube with a fuse attached. The gunpowder contains charcoal, sulfur, and potassium nitrate. For a brighter explosion, aluminum might also be used.

Sparklers are composed differently than fireworks because their purpose is to burn continuously for a time rather than give off a sudden and brief explosion. Sparklers must contain a fuel, an oxidizer, iron or steel powder, and a binder. The oxidizer is frequently potassium nitrate while the fuel is usually charcoal and sulfur. The binder used can be sugar or starch. These ingredients are combined in such a way that causes the sparkler to burn more slowly.

Aerial fireworks, while similar in ingredients, require a few additional elements. These fireworks come in something called a shell. The shell has four parts: the container, stars, bursting charge, and the fuse. Just below the shell is a cylinder that provides the charge that will lift the firework into the air. The fireworks are launched from something called a mortar. The mortar is frequently made from a steel tube with some gunpowder in the base which is lit to provide a lifting charge.

Aerial fireworks can have any combination of shells and casings that allow them to explode in different ways. With all of these chemicals acting together, it is no wonder that we leave our colorful firework shows in the hands of professionals!

If you want to read more about how fireworks work and how different types of casings can allow for different explosions, go to http://science.howstuffworks.com/innovation/fireworks1.htm

Fireworks vs. Firecrackers

These two contraptions, so similar in name, are different enough in function to allow for fewer regulations for the latter (firecrackers). Firecrackers are explosive devices who’s primary function is causing a lot of noise. Any visual effects, such as a flash or spark, are secondary to this goal. Firecrackers are lit, just as fireworks are and also contain an explosive compound wrapped in a thick paper exterior. While firecrackers are supposedly less dangerous than fireworks, they are still explosives and while they may not be intended for their explosive element, there is still a risk that this can cause as much, if not more damage, than fireworks.

A number have places have set bans against firecrackers specifically. According to Wikipedia.org, the following countries have done so.

Australia does not allow the use of fireworks or firecrackers by people who are not licensed pyrotechnicians except in their capitol territory. A permit is required where fireworks are not illegal.

In Canada, firecrackers are not covered under the ‘Explosives Act’ making them illegal to use, store, transport, or possess.

Mainland China has allowed the use of firecrackers since 2008 in most areas. This makes sense culturally since firecrackers are integral to the celebration of the Chinese New Year. Fireworks and firecrackers are illegal in Hong Kong, however.

In Indonesia, fireworks and firecrackers are not to be used in public during the Chinese New Year to avoid a conflict between the local populations of Chinese and Indonesians. Some metropolitan areas allow a limited usage, such as Jakarta and Medan.

Sweden, oddly enough, on allows rocket type fireworks. In 2001, firecrackers were outlawed here.

As you can see, the use of firecrackers differs somewhat from fireworks but depending on the culture, they are treated differently than fireworks.

Hawaiian Fireworks Ban

A fireworks ban will come into effect in Oahu on January 2, 2012. This is only a couple of weeks away and people are starting to gear up for keeping this ban effective. The new rules will make even sparklers and paper fireworks illegal. Firecrackers, however, will be allowed on certain holidays such as New Year’s Eve, Chinese New Year, and the Fourth of July. Senator Espero has been working to increase the effectiveness of the State’s Illegal Fireworks Task Force. The Departments of Agriculture and Transportation are also being asked to aid in the enforcement of the ban. Espero wants dogs to sniff out imported illegal fireworks in shipping containers. Since currently only five percent of containers are being inspected, any increase will be beneficial. Among those opposed to the ban is Jerry Farley who lobbys for American Promotional Events, a fireworks wholesaler. Because four of the original council members who pushed the ban are no longer on the council, Farley believes he has a chance to get the ban repealed. Espero is confident in the success of the ban and does not think that a repeal is likely.

The ban is covered under Bill 34. It does allow adults to purchase a $25 permit which would allow them to buy up to 5,000 firecrackers during the aforementioned holidays. While this is not an outright ban, it will curtail the currently excessive use of fireworks.

More information can be found at:
http://www.kitv.com/r/25820510/detail.html
http://www.hawaiinewsnow.com/global/story.asp?s=13197930

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Firework Danger Video

Below is a video demonstrating of how dangerous fireworks can really be. Although the situations are staged, an average of 7,000 people are injured every year due to fireworks (CDC). Being educated on how to properly use fireworks is extremely important, but it is best to leave fireworks up to professional pyrotechnicians. Is your safety and the safety of others, or even someone's life, worth risking just to light off fireworks?



You Tube - The Dangers of Fireworks

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Monday, November 15, 2010

Don't Forget Sparklers

Help us get the word out! Sparklers might seem harmless, but actually they are not. In 2008, the National Fire Protection Association reported, 21% of fireworks injuries were from sparklers alone. This is the exact same percentage as firecrackers. Many people overlook the risks there are for sparklers. Just like other fireworks there are many safety tips that are specifically for sparklers. These include:

~ All children under 12 years old should have close adult supervision who need to teach children the proper way to handle sparklers.
~ Never throw sparklers
~ Light only one at a time
~ Light only your own sparkler
~ Always remain standing
~ Stand 6 feet or more away from others
~ Wear closed-toe shoes
~ Do not hold onto children while sparklers are lit
~ Keep a bucket of water that is accessible to instantly cool sparklers

In 2004, Maddi de la Cruz an unfortunate child was severely burned by a sparkler that ignited her shoe. As a result, Maddi received 2nd and 3rd degree burns. She underwent skin graft surgery to help regain her ability to walk. Maddi is unfortunately not the only child that has been severely burned by sparklers. So please take sparklers seriously and be careful of the dangers if not handled properly.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Fireworks, Veterans, and PTSD

A recent news story from Bakerfield, CA ran on Veterans Day about former Marine Chris Allen that highlighted the effects that fireworks have on our veterans.

The author of the story explained that, "simple things like fireworks remind him of the horrors of war."

And looking back on a day that fireworks were set off outside of this home he detailed how, "I came out with the remote in my hand like a pistol because I was aiming for outside."

These types of events are and stresses for our Veterans are a harsh reality. A recent study found that an alarmingly 1 out of 10 soldiers who have served in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq suffer from PTSD.

By being cautious, respectful, and limiting the use of fireworks it can greatly reduce the stresses that Veterans face.

If you or someone you know is suffering from PTSD contact your local VA Clinic.

Read the full news story here
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Friday, November 12, 2010

U.S. Fire Administration Firework Danger Statistics

Below are some startling statistics from the U.S. Fire Administration. These statistics show how many injuries occur and which are most common, what products are responsible for injuries or damages and the amount of fire damage that is caused by fireworks. While these statistics make the dangers very obvious, it important to remember that knowing how to properly use fireworks or, better yet, leaving them to professionals is the only way to help decrease the dangers associated with fireworks.

INJURIES FROM FIREWORKS
In 2003, firework devices caused approximately 9,300 injuries, an increase from 8,800 injuries in 2002. The vast majority of these injuries are associated with Independence Day celebrations. CPSC estimated that 6,800 people were treated in hospital emergency departments for fireworks-related injuries during the 1-month period surrounding July 4th (June 20–July 20, 2003).There were six deaths from consumer fireworks reported that year.
According to National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS) survey data, CPSC estimated that nearly half of all fireworks-related injuries (45%) were suffered by children under age 15. Males were disproportionately injured by fireworks (72%) with almost three times as many males as females (28%) injured.The large majority of fireworks injuries occurred with consumer products. CPSC also reported that of the estimated 9,300 fireworks injuries in 2003, only a small number of injuries—100—occurred at public fireworks events.
Burns were by far the most common form of injury. Burn injuries typically occurred to all parts of the body. Hands are the body parts most often injured, accounting for 1,800 of the hospital visits in the 1-month NEISS study period around July 4th, 2003. Eyes followed with 1,400 visits, and then heads/faces/ears and legs with 1,200 emergency visits each.

PRODUCTS ASSOCIATED WITH INJURIES
Of all consumer fireworks, firecrackers were responsible for the greatest number of injuries. In 2003, CPSC estimated 1,600 injuries from firecrackers associated with Independence Day celebrations. Bottle rockets injured 1,000 persons, and sparklers injured another 700.
Of the estimated 700 fireworks injuries to children under 5 years of age, 400 (57%) were caused by sparklers between June 20 and July 20, 2003. Among children 5–14 years of age, firecrackers and bottle rockets resulted in 800 of the 2,400 injuries (33%). Rockets (bottle and other types) alone accounted for 500 of the 1,800 (28%) injuries to persons aged 15–24.
Fireworks sales have been increasing according to the American Pyrotechnics Association. In 2000, fireworks sales totaled $610 million and by 2004 had increased to $775 million.
The following 2003 deaths illustrate the problems:
- A 2-year-old child died in Florida from smoke inhalation from a fire that was started in the laundry room of a mobile home.The fire started when a 3-year-old child lit combustibles with a sparkler.
-Leaning over a pipe where he placed a commercial-type firework projectile, a 38-year-old man in Iowa was killed when he lit the fuse.
-Attempting to block the wind around a launching tube, an 18-year-old man was fatally injured in Michigan when lighting a mortar-type firework.

FIRES CAUSED BY FIREWORKS
The following discussion is based on 2002 National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS, version 5.0) data and reflects injuries, fatalities, and fire loss associated only with the fires caused by fireworks.These losses differ from the figures presented earlier that reflect injuries, fatalities, and property loss caused directly by fireworks.
An estimated 23,200 fireworks fires in 2002 caused approximately $35 million in property loss and injured 75 persons.12, 13 No deaths were reported in the NFIRS data. Most fires are clustered around Independence Day, New Year’s Eve, and other holidays or celebrations.
Fifty-nine percent of fires caused by fireworks occur around the Independence Day holiday on July 4th, often in open fields or vacant lots. As such, the materials most commonly ignited (68%) by fireworks are organic materials such as grass and trees. Grass alone was the first material ignited in 47% of all fireworks fires.14 Because these types of fires are located outdoors, they have a relatively low property loss.

You can read the article in its entirety at:
http://www.usfa.dhs.gov/downloads/pdf/statistics/v5i4.pdf

Thursday, November 11, 2010

July 4th is an Independence day NOT for all...

The "Minefield" explodes with glittering red tips. "War and Peace" unloads alternating rounds of color and fire. "The Torrent" promises "360 degrees of pyro " in a spectacular barrage.

As Americans stock up on Fourth of July fireworks with battlefield themes, those with actual war experience are adopting safety plans instead. Combat veterans in Oregon and southwest Washington say they are heading to quiet campsites, small family gatherings or the basement with earphones. They'll pre-stage their dreams before bed, visualizing different endings.

According to a military psychologist Jim Sardo, who manages the PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), depression, anxiety and drinking all spike around the Fourth of July and this time of the year is very stressful period. The Clinical Team and Substance Abuse Services at the Portland Veterans Affairs Medical Center claim that unexpected bursts of noise, summer heat, crowds, traffic, forced gaiety and coolers of cold beer all contribute.

But the Fourth of July also stands as a collective reminder of both the patriotism and pain in military service. Many veterans are bothered less by the booms, Sardo says, than the deeper questions the displays raise about what it means to go to war and lose a limb, friends or a view of the world as a healthy place.

From first hand experience of a Multnomah County sheriff's deputy Ken Kraft, who earned a Bronze Star in Iraq, it is horrific holiday. He confesses "I hear patriotic music or the Pledge of Allegiance, I start crying. It's a respect and reverence for the rights we have and the really good people trying to defend this country. But I'm not pro-war, and anyone who is, has never been to war. War changes who you are and how you are and how you react to things. My wife still grieves for the person who went there. Because somebody else came home."

On the last family vacation before he deployed, U.S. Army Capt. Kraft drove his wife, Brenda, their children and grandchildren to Disneyland for the Fourth of July. The next fireworks he saw were over Camp Slayer, the former Al Radwaniyah Presidential complex and Baath Party enclave near the Baghdad airport... the impact of these fireworks on veterans like him are obvious.

by Abhi Batra

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Do Not Forget the Safety Tips

It is an option to NOT use fireworks on holidays, celebrations, or special events. I believe that it is NOT an option to use fireworks that are illegal in your state. Most people do not think about the negative consequences that fireworks hold. That is why it is important to find out and understand the effects that fireworks have if not used properly. In my own opinion, if you want to be a part of fireworks then go to a public fireworks display instead of buying your own, besides it is a lot cheaper and it is better on our environment. I think that many people only think about a small list of safety rules that people must follow to insure safety. Those rules might be: do not let small children posses them, use in an open area, use them only outdoors, do not light near your face, get away quickly after lighting, etc. That is why I am going to add to those universal safety rules, so there are less injuries and fires.

If you choose to use fireworks it is important that you follow all of the rules listed below:

1. Children Should Not Handle Fireworks. Never let children handle, play with or light any fireworks. Fireworks should only be handled by adults.

2. Do Not Use Alcohol With Fireworks. Please do not consume alcohol when using fireworks. Fireworks must be used by individuals who act in a responsible manner and who are not impaired in any way.

3. Follow the Laws; Use Common Sense. Follow your local and state laws regarding the possession and use of fireworks. Do not use illegal explosives; do not alter any firework device; and do not make your own fireworks. Use common sense at all times in handling fireworks.

4. Use Fireworks on a Hard Surface. Use fireworks on a hard, flat and level surface, not on grass or gravel. If you are using fireworks on grass, lay down a strong piece of plywood as a shooting surface. You must do what you can to insure the stability of the items as you use them.

5. Use in a Clear, Open Area. Use fireworks in a clear, open area, making sure the area overhead is free from obstructions. Keep the audience a safe distance away from the shooting site. Watch out for dry grass, dry brush or any flammable items that could catch fire. Never shoot fireworks in metal or glass containers.

6. Keep Clear of the Fireworks. Never put your head or any part of your body over the top of any fireworks product at any time. Never look into a tube to check on the firework item. Never hold a lighted firework in your hand.

7. Use Care in Lighting the Fireworks. Always light fireworks products with an extended butane lighting device, a Phantom pyro-torch, a punk or a flare. Light the fuse only on the tip. Use a flashlight at night so you can see the fuse. Never use a lantern or other flame-producing device near fireworks for illumination. Light the fireworks product and get away quickly.

8. One at a Time. Light only one firework item at a time.

9. Do Not Use Malfunctioning or “Dud” Items. Don’t persist with malfunctioning items. Never attempt to re-light, alter or fix any “dud” firework item.

10. Have Water Close By. Have a fire extinguisher, water supply, hose or bucket of water nearby. During any fireworks shoot there should always be someone assigned as the fireman, whose job it is to be alert and at the ready with a water source for emergencies.

11. Windy Conditions. Be cautious of lighting any fireworks during strong wind conditions. Light fireworks with prevailing wind blowing away from the spectators. If there is a wind shift during your shooting, you should stop or rearrange your shooting site to accommodate the wind shift. 12.

12. Use Care in Handling Fireworks. Use care in handling fireworks and be careful not to drop them. Do not carry fireworks in your pocket. Never smoke when handling fireworks.

13. Never Use Fireworks as Weapons. Never use fireworks as weapons. Never aim, point or throw any fireworks at another person or at any property.

14. Storage of Fireworks. Store fireworks in a cool, dry place and dispose of fireworks properly.

15. Use Fireworks Outdoors. Use fireworks outdoors. Never use fireworks indoors.

16. Special Reloadable Rules. Never use a wet or damaged shell or launch tube. Insert shell all the way into the bottom of the tube, flat end down. Never force a shell into a tube. Use only one shell at a time. Wait at least 30 seconds between loading shells. Never ignite a shell outside of a launch tube. Never take the shell apart. Never relight a fuse that fails to ignite the device. After lighting the fuse, move a minimum of 20 feet from the launch tube.

17. Purchase Fireworks from Reliable Dealers. Purchase fireworks from reliable, licensed fireworks dealers. Do not use illegal explosives; do not alter any fireworks; do not attempt to make your own fireworks.

18. Safety Glasses. Safety glasses are recommended for individuals lighting fireworks and those individuals in close proximity to the fireworks.

19. Use Caution with Animals. Be careful with animals. Noise and lights of fireworks often frighten animals.

20. Do Not Transport Fireworks on Airplanes. Do not transport fireworks on airplanes; it is a violation of federal law

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Fireworks Ban

A fireworks ban is being discussed by the town council of Gilbert in Arizona. The ban would prohibit the sale and use of fireworks, which will become legal after November 30th if this ban is not put in place. A bill was recently signed by the governor of Arizona, Jan Brewer, which would legalize the production and purchase of fireworks by people sixteen or older. The fireworks covered in this bill are limited to consumer fireworks. This is defined as “ground and handheld sparkling devices, illuminating torches, flitter sparklers, and wheels” by the American Pyrotechnics Association. Fireworks that leave the ground and explode are not included in this bill. Opposition to this bill comes primarily from firefighters. Gilbert will not be the first city to approve a fireworks ban. Tempe, Cave Creek, Goodyear and Carefree have already approved bans of their own. Another major concern is that while children must be sixteen to purchase fireworks, there is no age requirement for use. So, in theory, sixteen year olds can purchase fireworks and give them to younger and potentially less responsible children to use. As of yet, no decisions have been reached and it is unclear what the results will be. It is safe to say, however, that the fires and public disruptions associated with fireworks are under careful scrutiny in Arizona as of late.

Works Referenced: http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/2010/11/05/20101105gilbert-fireworks-ban-proposal.html

Bonfire Night and the Dangers of Fireworks in a Crowd

Bonfire Night, a.k.a. Guy Fawkes Night (familiar to anyone who has seen the movie “V for Vendetta”) took place on it’s annual date, November 5. (Remember, remember the fifth of November!). Celebrations of this event usually include lighting bonfires (obviously) and setting off fireworks. An effigy of Guy is usually burned in the bonfire as part of the celebrations and children sit out with “Guy” and beg “A penny for the Guy?” in efforts to raise money to buy their own fireworks. It seems that this holiday has always been surrounded by a good deal of violence. This is likely due in part to it’s proximity to Halloween and the fact that it is celebrated on the weekend nearest to the fifth of November, and not always on the day. The holiday is also deeply political, having started when Fawkes attempted to set fire to the Parliament building. Though the festivities are overseen by the local authorities, things always seem to get out of hand in some way or another. This year, arsonists have started house fires by pushing fireworks through the mail slots of peoples’ homes. Firefighters have been kept busy by the fires being set both intentionally and accidentally all over London. A number of cars have been torched but fires are also caused by stray fireworks from reckless celebrators. Sometimes these accidental fires can be more dangerous than the intentional ones, as they can go unnoticed and set things alight which spread fire much more easily than others.

A few articles about some of the vandalism being caused by fireworks this weekend:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/crime/8114456/House-fires-started-by-fireworks-pushed-through-letterboxes.html
http://www.thisislocallondon.co.uk/news/8622018.Torched_cars_and_stray_fireworks_on_first_night_of_bonfire_weekend/

Sparks in the Park

A couple of days ago on November 6, Cardiff Wales had its 30th annual Sparks in the Park fireworks show. The show began as a community fundraiser, organized by its current organizers, the Cardiff Round Table, in 1981. Back then it was a lot smaller. The fireworks were stored in founder, John Griffin’s, garage and the fireworks themselves were partly assembled and set off by non-professionals. Safety and Health regulations were a lot more relaxed back then, and allowed them to get away with this. Professionals weren’t brought in to run the show until on of the men working on the fireworks (a dentist) almost burned his hands off! Today the show is run by a company called Pendragon. The first show attracted 30,000 local members from the community with no real advertising. The group members went door to door selling tickets until they had enough to buy the fireworks. The people of the community were so excited by the prospect of the show that they quickly and easily sold enough tickets to cover the cost. It wasn’t long before they realized that this would be a great way to raise money for local charities. The second year of the show, the wives of the group members showed up to run food stalls. Today, the fireworks are not the only attraction. Fairground rides, a bar, music, and food stalls will add to the spectacle. There will even be an earlier and quieter show for children before the bigger display. The only thing that hasn’t really changed about this event is that all profits go back to the community!

For more information: http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/2010/11/06/firework-display-set-to-go-off-with-a-bang-91466-27610662/

Friday, November 5, 2010

Why You Won't See More Veterans At The Fireworks Show

by Ken Kalish
July 2, 2010


Park Rapids, Minn. — There was a time I used to love fireworks in the park. For me there's no piece of holiday music that compares to the 1812 Overture accompanied by artillery. It's the best ... so long as I'm watching it (and the fireworks) on TV.
Here's the problem. Somewhere between my adolescence and the birth of my first child, fireworks displays began to rely more and more heavily on an effect called "The Salute." "Salutes" are those shells that emit little in the way of light when they explode. Instead they produce an ear-splitting boom accompanied by a concussive wave that feels as though it could damage your organs.
Some people probably find it exhilarating. But not me ... because something else happened to me between adolescence and parenthood. In 1967, I went off to war. My first year in Vietnam was spent in almost daily combat -- 114 firefights in my first 116 patrols. I learned that B-40 rockets, hand grenades, mortar rounds, artillery and mines all make distinctive sounds. Anyone who's been in combat knows that almost every time we heard those sounds ... it was either because they were trying to kill us or because we were trying to kill them.
Those of us who've been in combat don't like to make a big deal out of it, but next time you're in the park watching fireworks, take a look around. A lot of veterans -- as patriotic as they come -- won't be there.
All of the pretty designs and crackling showers are fine. Most combat veterans can appreciate the beauty of a parachute flare dancing in the battlefield's night air, or the distant tracers spraying brilliant fountains of orange and green during a nighttime firefight. Those so-called "Salutes," though -- they're too much like the real thing.
I don't need to relive the terror of incoming shells, the hot blast of mines, the squeeze-the-breath-out-of-you concussion of a near miss. Those are sensations that used to come with a buddy's violent loss of life or limbs. I can do without the vivid reminders, thank you.
Please. If you're in charge of planning a fireworks display this 4th of July, please, please, please. Bring on the rockets' red glare. But give the combat veterans in your audience a real salute, and leave out bombs bursting in air.
---
Ken Kalish, who served as a gunner on river patrol in Vietnam and as an announcer with American Forces Viet Nam Network, operates a llama rescue service in Park Rapids.

To read comments from other Veterans on this article please go to:
http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2010/07/02/kalish/

Posted by: Jennifer Mount

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Firework Safety Tips for Pet Owners

Any pet owner can understand and sympathize with the stress that their beloved pet goes through during the 4th of July holiday due to the thunderous noise caused by fireworks. Thankfully, the Humane Society of the United States has provided some suggestions to help pets and their owners handle and alleviate the noises and stress during this time.

1) Resist the urge to bring your pet to firework displays
2) Do not leave your pet in the car
3) Keep your pets indoors in a quiet, sheltered place
4) If you know that your pet is seriously distressed by loud noises like thunder, consult your veterinarian for ways to alleviate the fear or anxiety
5) Never leave your pet outside unattended, even in a fenced yard or on a chain
6) Make sure your pets are wearing identification tags so that if they do become lost, they can be returned promptly.

For the full article, including a heart-wrenching story of the tragic loss of a pet due to its fear of fireworks, visit: http://www.hsus.org/pets/pet_care/summer_care_tips_for_you_and_your_pets/keep_your_pet_safe_on_july_4th.html

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Too many fireworks; war veterans seek peace

While some Oregonians head for noisy displays, stressed and traumatized ex-combat troops look for a quiet spot

The "Minefield" explodes with glittering red tips. "War and Peace" unloads alternating rounds of color and fire. "The Torrent" promises "360 degrees of pyro " in a spectacular barrage.

As Americans stock up on Fourth of July fireworks with battlefield themes, those with actual war experience are adopting safety plans instead. Combat veterans in Oregon and southwest Washington say they are heading to quiet campsites, small family gatherings or the basement with earphones. They'll pre-stage their dreams before bed, visualizing different endings.

Depression, anxiety and drinking all spike around the Fourth of July, counselors say. "This time of year is stressful -- period," says Jim Sardo, a two-tour military psychologist who manages the PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) Clinical Team and Substance Abuse Services at the Portland Veterans Affairs Medical Center. Unexpected bursts of noise, summer heat, crowds, traffic, forced gaiety and coolers of cold beer all contribute.

But the Fourth of July also stands as a collective reminder of both the patriotism and pain in military service. Many veterans are bothered less by the booms, Sardo says, than the deeper questions the displays raise about what it means to go to war and lose a limb, friends or a view of the world as a healthy place.

"I hear patriotic music or the Pledge of Allegiance, I start crying," says Ken Kraft, a Multnomah County sheriff's deputy who earned a Bronze Star in Iraq. "It's a respect and reverence for the rights we have and the really good people trying to defend this country. But I'm not pro-war, and anyone who is, has never been to war.

"War changes who you are and how you are and how you react to things. My wife still grieves for the person who went there.

"Because somebody else came home."

http://www.oregonlive.com/living/oregonian/index.ssf?/base/living/1214699114302350.xml&coll=7