4th of July Celebrations and Fireworks Safety

July 01, 2018 11:20 PM

(ABC 6 News) -- It's the season for fireworks. For some, it's a fun time spent with family and friends but for others, it can be a source of stress. Local experts say fireworks can trigger post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in veterans. And those with PTSD can sometimes control their symptoms if they know when the fireworks will go off. But if it's the middle of the night and they hear it, it can also trigger a flashback.

If you do plan on lighting off fireworks, veterans are asking you to be aware of those in your neighborhood who may struggle with PTSD.


Humane societies are also reminding people to take a moment to consider animals in the family or in your neighborhood.

Experts say a dog's hearing is 10 times more sensitive than a human's. Loud fireworks may cause fear, stress, and anxiety in any animal.

They say it's best if you don't take your pet to see the fireworks. Leave them at home, think about closing drapes to block out flashing lights, and play soft music to drown out the noise.

Check your city's ordinances for rules about personal use of fireworks.

A Mayo Clinic doctor says the 4th of July holiday is when most firework injuries happen. Most of those injuries involve the eyes, "Fireworks are extremely dangerous, and I've seen extensive damage to hands, face, and eyes. From just corneal abrasions all the way to such extensive damage that we have to remove the eyes" said Dr. Jose Pulido.

Officials say that firework injuries are responsible for more than 10,000 emergency room visits a year.

To avoid that emergency room visit, here are some tips from the Centers for Disease Control:

  • Do not allow kids to light fireworks.
  • Always have adult supervision.
  • Watch fireworks from a safe distance.

The Minnesota State Fire Marshal is also sending out reminders. 30% of firework injuries come from sparklers.

Here are several tips to stay safe while using sparklers:

  • Point it away from people and animals.
  • Use them in open areas and away from trees and houses.
  • Extinguish and dispose of spent fireworks in a bucket of water.
  • Do not relight a dud.

The most important tip is to only use legal fireworks. The Minnesota Department of Public Safety identifies what is legal and what is not. You can use sparklers, cones, and tubes that emit sparks, ground spinners, and party poppers. But the following are considered illegal in the state: firecrackers, bottle rockets, missiles, roman candles, mortars, and shells.

The safest way to see fireworks though is to bring your family to watch a fireworks display.

Here are a few in our area taking place on July 4:

  • Albert Lea, over Fountain Lake.
  • Harmony, North Park
  • Rochester, Silver Lake Park
  • Austin, BAndshell Park



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