Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Keeping July 4th Fun and Safe!

Jesse Fulbright, MSU Liberty County Extension

The 4th of July is a fun holiday, one that remembers the founding of our country and celebrates that occasion with gusto.  With celebrations in full effect on the night of the 4th I wanted to help everyone keep it a safe holiday by providing some safety tips about fireworks.


As we’ve become quite the animal house over the past year with the addition of a cat and a dog, let’s talk about their safety first.  Many animals, especially dogs, run away and get lost over the firework season.  According to Extension sources, it is easy to understand why if you consider fireworks from the dog’s point of view.  In the article, “Why are Dogs Scared of Fireworks? 11 Things You Should Know,” dog behavior scientist Ragen Mcgowan says one of the reasons is that a dog’s acute sense of hearing makes them more sensitive to fireworks then we are.  They are much louder to our pets.  Another reason is while we expect to hear a loud boom during a firework show, dogs do not and can be very startled.  Similar to our reaction when we get startled by a very loud noise, their heart rate races, they have a surge in adrenaline and they experience a sudden increase in a stress hormone circulating throughout their body, which causes them to run away.  Fireworks are also very different then thunderstorms.  Storms come with a lot of warning signs, including a change in the barometric pressure and high winds, so they can anticipate the storm.  If you find yourself with your pet around fireworks, stay calm.  Staying relaxed and calm shows the dog there is no danger.

With children around, remember that while they may want to participate in lighting off fireworks, that is the adult’s job.  In the excitement of the lights and loud sounds, sometimes we forget that young children can suffer injuries from sparklers.  Sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees, which is hot enough to melt some metals.  When you as the adult are preparing to light a firework never place any part of your body directly over a firework when lighting the fuse.
Have a safe and fun 4th of July this year!

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