The Fourth of July is often celebrated with friends and family, good food, and fireworks. While we have previously covered some of the more dangerous aspects of this holiday, we wanted to go more in depth and talk about how to safely enjoy fireworks without putting yourself or others in danger.
This is by no means a comprehensive guide of all the dangers that come with fireworks, nor a complete list of alternative solutions. If you are interested in learning more, please check with local branches of the U.S. Fire Administration, the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, or other similar programs.
Dangers of Fireworks
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD, has become a public talking point only within the last few years. What was quietly whispered about is now openly talked about, which is great in terms of getting help to those who need it. Unfortunately, there can be a disconnect with people between understanding the idea of PTSD and living peacefully alongside it. A major trigger for those whose trauma has to do with loud sounds, such as people from abusive homes or those who have spent time in active war zones, is explosions, such as fireworks. The sound can trigger panic attacks, heart palpitations, shaking, sweating, and other dangerous symptoms. The dangerous and difficulties that can come from setting fireworks off in residential areas far surpasses the temporary enjoyment they bring.
Our furry friends can also be in danger when fireworks go off. While it is tempting to assume that they know that their house is safe, the truth is that many pets have a difficult time when there is excessive and abrupt noise. Instinct tells them that there is something dangerous outside, so they will try to find a place inside with no windows to limit the sound or, if possible, they will try to get outside so they can run away from the sound entirely. Their efforts to isolate and calm themselves can even lead to harm in extreme cases, such as torn paws from animals who run away or injuries that come from attempts to hide in the house.
Wildfires have become far more deadly in the last few years from a combination of increased use of fossil fuels, a general increase of greenhouses gasses in our atmosphere, and the resulting decrease in the production of sap that protects trees during dry season. Because of how intense and far-spread these fires can become, drier areas along the western coast of the USA are cancelling or severely limiting the use of fireworks for this Fourth of July. While that may seem excessive to some, in 2021 alone, 8,619 wildfires burned almost 2.6 million acres, resulting in several fatalities and injuries that were only limited by the quick thinking and early warnings of the effected states.
Being aware of the dangers, unfortunately, is not always enough. Thankfully, because fireworks are so popular, there are many wonderful alternatives that have come up in recent years. If you are still absolutely determined to see fireworks, but know better than to risk yourself or others by setting them off at home, then check out your local news for a scheduled firework show. There are multiple shows all throughout the day in the USA that are performed by professionals whose job it is to ensure that there is an absolutely minimal amount of risk involved to the people and the environment. Additionally, these firework shows are often coordinated with beautiful shapes, colors, and effects, so it might make the perfect outing for your July 4th.
Drone lightshows are rising in popularity now that drones are becoming more accessible. Not only are these shows safer for people, animals, and the environment, but the coordination between hundreds of drones can create incredibly brilliant imagery. Because of their rise in demand, groups like Intel have produced specific drones called “Shooting Stars” that are used for high-quality lightshows, like the one seen in the 2018 Winter Olympics. You certainly do not need an engineering degree or your own Shooting Star to enjoy a lightshow, though, as they are being used across the country to replace firework shows, so be sure to check your local listings to see what is available near you.
If you family is determined to get messy during July 4th, then Elephant Toothpaste might be the alternative that you are looking for. After sweeping social media by storm, elephant toothpaste became an easy-to-make household craft. The project is easy enough to do, mixing in basic ingredients, including food dye and glitter (depending on the recipe) to create a fountain-like explosion of foam. While it is hot to the touch originally, it is safe to touch and mess with after just 3 minutes. After the family tires themselves out with the crafts, clean-up will prove to be incredibly easy as well, as soap and water is enough to wash it away completely.
There is no denying that firework displays are incredible, but the dangers they possess and the damage they have caused severely outweigh the benefit of their beauty. There are dozens more safe alternatives to enjoy this holiday season, so be sure to take a look around for a solution that might fit your family’s style of celebration a bit better.
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