Every year, Americans gather with friends and family to celebrate Independence Day. As the holiday approaches, experts with the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Disaster Assessment and Recovery, DAR, Unit are encouraging Texans to take precautions with firework safety.
‘Fundamental preventative measures’
The safest way to enjoy fireworks is simply leaving it to the professionals, said Payton Morris, AgriLife Extension DAR agent, Glen Rose, serving the South Central Texas region.
“In the case that fireworks are allowed in your location, there are fundamental preventative measures to take to ensure that the fun does not turn into fire,” Morris said.
The following are suggested safety tips:
● Read and follow all instructions on firework labels.
● Set fireworks off in open places away from dry and tall grass, vehicles, and buildings. Keep first aid kits, water hoses and fire extinguishers on hand and nearby.
● Never allow young children around fireworks or sparklers. Ensure that older children are always supervised. Light fireworks away from close contact with people and or flammable objects.
● Be mindful of your surroundings. For people in rural areas, consider making firebreaks, a gap in vegetation to slow down the progression of a wildfire or fire outbreak. In suburban areas, stay observant of the distance between houses and the projected velocity of fireworks.
● Prepare animals, such as pets and or livestock, because they are very susceptible to loud noises.
Consult a veterinarian
Richard Griffin, AgriLife Extension DAR agent, Carrizo Springs, serving the north region of South Texas, said contacting veterinarians prior to firework events is advisable to ensure protective behavioral health.
“The vet could even prescribe sedative pills to ‘keep animals from the flight or fright’ response,” Griffin said. “If the local veterinarian is unavailable, days before the holiday, consider keeping your pet in the laundry room or near a television to drown out loud noise.”
Disposing and cleaning of fireworks after their use is equally as important to safety, he said. It is also important not to leave fireworks out overnight, as old flames could spark.
“Never re-light an already used firework.” Griffin said. “Instead, allow everything to cool down or douse it in water. Remove all significant pieces and throw away anything recyclable.”
In all, DAR agents say the best practice is to assess your situation and take the necessary precautions to avoid danger this Fourth of July.
*Reporting for this story was provided by Fatyma Lawal, part of the Science Influencers program in the Department of Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communications.