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July 4 safety and awareness checklist

As we celebrate our great nation’s birthday, let’s run down this safety and awareness checklist so we can have a blast this 4th… but only the good kind.

Be Mindful of Our Veterans

As my friend and Army veteran, Rennie, reminded me, it’s a sad irony that so many combat veterans struggle on Independence Day. Loud blasts that sound like gunfire and explosives can trigger post-traumatic stress disorder. Per the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, an estimated 11% to 20% of military members who have served in Iraq or Afghanistan suffer from PTSD in a given year. If you have neighbors that are veterans, please be courteous if you’re planning to set off fireworks.

Keep it Legal

Fireworks labeled “Safe-n-Sane” have been tested and approved by valley fire departments. Per BCNV.org, “Only ‘safe and sane’ fireworks are legal in Clark County, including Boulder City. ‘Safe and sane’ fireworks do not shoot into the air and/or explode. However, if mishandled, they can still cause severe burns and injuries. All fireworks should be treated with care and supervised by a responsible adult.”

Remember, that just because they’re labeled “Safe-n-Sane” doesn’t mean they can’t cause injury or start fires.

Safety First

Nothing will take the fun out of fireworks like a trip to the emergency room.

The safest place to watch fireworks is at a show put on by pros, but if you’ll be lighting up the “red glare” at home, follow these fireworks safety tips:

■ Store fireworks in a cool, dry place away from kids and pets.

■ Only use fireworks outdoors in a cleared area.

■ Remove dead plant materials including palm fronds.

■ A fire extinguisher is best, but if you don’t have one, keep a bucket and charged hose nearby.

■ Follow all instructions on firework packaging—do not modify.

■ The person lighting the fireworks should wear eye protection.

■ Don’t set off more than one firework at a time.

■ Light fireworks pointed away from your face, then quickly step back.

■ Never point or toss fireworks toward people, animals, vehicles, structures or flammable materials.

■ Never try to pick up or relight a “dud.” Wait 20 minutes then douse it with water.

■ Douse all firework debris with water before discarding.

■ Vacate anywhere folks are lighting off fireworks inebriated or acting a fool.

Protect Your Pets

Loud fireworks are no fun for our furry friends, in fact, they send most into a total panic. It’s no wonder so many pets run away or are reported missing on July 4th. “According to national statistics, animal control officials across the country see a 30-60% increase in lost pets each year between July 4th and 6th. In fact, July 5 is one of the busiest days of the year for shelters”—PetAmberAlert.com

■ It’s best to stay home with your dogs, indoors, surrounding them with creature comforts.

■ Playing loud music can help muffle firework noise.

■ Consider giving your dog or cat a natural “chill pill” treats to help with anxiety, like CBDoggies offered by our local For the Health of Our Pets (Dyanah at 702-677- 2567).

■ Do not leave them outside, even if they’re used to it — panicky pets will break loose of leashes and jump fences. Ensure that your pet can’t breach gates, fences, or any enclosures.

■ Make sure your pets are wearing ID tags with updated contact information, even if they’re chipped. Consider adding an “AirTag” pet tracking device to their collar.

■ Do not take them with you to any outdoor events, nor leave them in the car, especially in the heat, ever!

■ Check your yard for fireworks debris before letting pets outside. Even if you didn’t set off fireworks at home, debris can make its way into your yard, and into your pet’s mouth.

For a more detailed list of fireworks safety tips visit https://www.lasvegasnevada.gov/News/Blog/Detail/fireworks-safety

Have a happy and safe Fourth of July, everyone!

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