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Firework Safety: Protect Yourself and Your Pets this Fourth of July

Posted at 6:35 PM, Jun 25, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-26 14:14:59-04

SARPY COUNTY, Neb. — The Fourth of July is an exciting summer holiday.

Something that could possibly dent all that excitement however, is improper firework use.

"A lot of it's excessive alcohol consumption and then underage people not being properly supervised and in some cases it's adults not properly supervising some of the activities that they're doing with the fireworks," Director of Sarpy County Emergency Communications, William Muldoon, said.

Fireworks are as loud and dangerous as they are fun.

This year local police want you to follow the proper times of using fireworks to avoid disturbances and conflict.

"Each of the communities has different start and end times. Generally, the end times from now through the Fourth of July is 10pm, except for the fourth itself, then it's until midnight unless you're in La Vista, it's 11pm at that point," Muldoon said.

Every city may be a little different, but law enforcement in the metro are ready to enforce the rules.

"After 10pm anywhere in Sarpy County, after midnight on the fourth law enforcement will respond based on our available resources if things are getting out of hand," Muldoon said.

If someone is violating those times in your city, contact the non-emergency numbers provided. For Sarpy County call 402-593-4111. For Douglas County Call 402-444-5802.

The 911 line is strictly for emergencies only.

"If you're annoyed with your neighbor or think they party's getting out of hand use the non-emergency, if somebody was actually injured, did something with the fireworks and you need the fire department or need an ambulance, then that's the time to call 911," Muldoon said.

The overuse of calling 911 can result in somebody not getting necessary help when it is needed most.

"So it was more frustrated people calling in and reporting unneighborly neighbors and using the 911 line, which actually took our system down to the point where people were getting busy signals," Muldoon said.

Stay safe and enjoy your holiday, but remember to do it responsibly.

"Be neighborly, knock it off at 10 o'clock, no later than midnight on the fourth itself and be a good neighbor would go a long way because there's certainly just not enough law enforcement resources to go after everyone that's going to violate that," Muldoon said.

While most people get excited for all the pops and bangs, many pets go through stress during all the festivities.

The sights and sounds you enjoy may be too much for your precious pets to handle.

Pam Wiese from the Nebraska Humane Society has some tips and tricks to keep your animals safe during the loud celebrations.

"Insulating them from the light and the sound if at all possible, so maybe a basement room or lower level at the house or a room that doesn't have any windows. If they like their crate and they feel comfortable in that sort of safe space, set their crate up in there. Give them a nice chew bone or something that's a little out of the ordinary to give them a chance to kind of get distracted from all of the noises around them," she said.

The Humane Society also urges you to not take your pets to any firework shows. The stress can cause your pet to run away or act out.

Anxiety thunder shirts and calm difusers are also recommended to help ease the pain of all the noise during the Fourth of July.

The Omaha Fire Department released the following information today, June 26, 2019:

Be Safe and Practice Caution!

Consumer fireworks may only be possessed, used or discharged by a person that is 16 years of age or older

(Or by a person who is 12-15 years of age with the supervision of an adult that is at least 19 years old).

  • Only ignite fireworks outdoors, away from houses, people and flammable objects
  • Never light fireworks in a container and store unused fireworks in a cool, dry placeNever attempt to relight or handle malfunctioning fireworks – keep water close to extinguish them
  • After all the fireworks have been discharged and when cleaning up, please keep the discarded fireworks outside and away from any other combustibles. Firework debris may still be hot and have hidden embers that can ignite and cause a fire.