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