Safety tips for Hoosiers and their pets during Fourth of July festivities

What to know before you set off fireworks this week

Jill Glavan reports on fireworks laws in Indiana.

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.– Officials are urging Hoosiers to be safe this holiday weekend and on Monday, as they celebrate the Fourth of July.

Last year, 181 firework-related injuries were reported to the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH), the highest number of firework-related injuries since 2006. Two Indiana residents died in 2015 due to firework-related injuries.

Here are some more fireworks safety tips:

  • Use a clear, open area and keep the audience at a safe distance from the shooting site.
  • Do not attempt to make or alter any fireworks or fireworks device.
  • Only light one firework at a time and never attempt to re-light or fix a “dud” firework.
  • Have a fire extinguisher, water supply, hose or bucket of water nearby.
  • Never smoke or consume alcohol when lighting fireworks.
  • Never aim, point or throw fireworks at another person.

Pet owners know that fireworks can be very stressful for dogs and cats. Pets that are very sensitive to loud noises will try to escape the constant “booming” of the fireworks by running away from their homes. This behavior leads to an increase of stray animals.

Here are a couple of helpful tips from Indianapolis Animal Care and Control (IACC) for the holiday weekend:

  • Try to keep your pet’s routine as normal as possible during this time.
  • Ensure that your pet has a comfortable, secure space, and is not left outside for extended periods.
  • If you have an outdoor cat, try to bring it indoors during the evening hours.
  • Take your dog for a long walk in the early evenings to help burn off any excess energy—this additional exercise can also help your dog sleep better.
  • Thundershirts, chew toys, and the use of background noise, such as TVs, music, fans, and white noise, are popular options that can help to keep pets calm during this holiday season.
  • If you do need to leave your pet alone in the evening, consider asking a friend or family member to sit with your pet while you’re out. The simple presence of a human can provide tremendous comfort to a nervous dog or cat.
  • If you decide to take your dog around festivities that include fireworks, make sure that your dog has on a collar with appropriate identification and keep them on a leash and close to you at all times.

Additional reminders to consider when purchasing fireworks:

  • Fireworks cannot be sold to or purchased by anyone younger than 18.
  • Check packages and labels to make sure only 1.4G consumer fireworks are purchased; any other types of fireworks are illegal for consumer sales or purchases in Indiana, and may be more explosive.
  • Store fireworks in a cool, dry place.
  • Be sure fireworks are out of the reach of children.
  • Consider buying glow sticks instead of sparklers for children – sparklers can burn at temperatures high enough to melt glass.

Click here for more information on these topics.

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