Safety Comes First This Fourth of July

Think ahead to keep family and pets safe.

By EGP Staff Report

Fourth of July festivities kicked off last week at several local parks, but there are still lots of family-friendly activities taking place across the Southland over the three-day holiday weekend.

Public safety officials urged Southland residents this week to keep family and pets safe, starting with leaving the fireworks to the pros and attending a public display on the Fourth of July.

A new report from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission states that there was a large increase in the number of fireworks-related deaths and injuries in 2013, despite more warnings about the dangers and a growing number of cities prohibiting private use at home or in public.

The main cause of injuries and death is devise malfunction, according to the report. Many consumers reported their injuries were the result of a firework devise not performing as expected, taking an “errant flight path,” tipping over or blowouts.

There were 8 firework related deaths in the U.S. last year, and the number of injuries climbed to 11,400 compared to 8,700 in 2012.

In addition to safety concerns, setting off fireworks in some parts of Los Angeles County could be prosecuted as a felony, sheriff’s Detective Enrique Velazquez of the explosives detail said at a multi-agency news conference in June 25.

“If you are caught, it can be a felony and you’ll spend your Fourth of July behind bars,” Velazquez said.

To demonstrate the danger, a professional detonated fireworks and exploded watermelons to demonstrate the potentially lethal power of fireworks.

“We’ve had fingers blown off, people damage their eyes, burns. It’s very dangerous,” he said.

In some Los Angeles County cities, safe and sane fireworks, such as sparklers, are permitted. But any fireworks that explode or fly are illegal.

Those approved by the state fire marshal carry “Safe and Sane” label, but officials warn that even those fireworks could cause injury if not used properly.

Residents were also reminded to think ahead and be prepared to keep pets safe.

Earlier this week, Los Angeles animal shelters reported they are busy preparing for an expected influx in animals frightened by fireworks.

“The Fourth of July is really a busy time for shelters and for veterinarians when the animals get frightened, they run away, people call us, good Samaritans bring them to the shelter and then suddenly we have a lot more animals at the shelter,” Brenda Barnette, general manager of Los Angeles Animal Services, told Video News West.

The shelter tries to reunite pets with their owners, but the animal shelter offered some tips for keeping pets calm and preventing them from getting lost in the first place:

—Keep pets indoors, if possible, or confined to a secure area (never tether an animal because it can lead to more harm or an accidental death).

—Double check yard gates to make sure that pets cannot escape.

—Make certain pets are wearing identification, including the name and current telephone number of owner, or a microchip.

The best way to keep a pet calm is to go in and sit with them until the fireworks are over.

They’ll like that best,” Barnette said.

In addition to New Years and Halloween, Fourth of July is the busiest holiday for animal shelters and veterinarians who treat escaped animals hit by cars.

To adopt a pet from a Los Angeles Animal Shelter, visit http://www.laanimalservices.com/.

Information from City News Service used in this report.

 

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July 3, 2014  Copyright © 2012 Eastern Group Publications, Inc.

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