The Township encourages its residents to become educated on the harmful affects fireworks have on wildlife and the environment, and to be respectful of their neighbours while utilizing fireworks.
Family firework displays and informal neighborhood shows are not recommended due to the risks involved. To ensure safety, it is recommended that you attend public fireworks displays instead. However, if you still choose to have a family fireworks or informal neighborhood display, please follow these important safety tips:
- Assign a responsible adult to oversee the fireworks display. Only adults who are fully aware of the risks and safety precautions should handle and discharge fireworks.
- Read and carefully follow the instructions on the fireworks packaging.
- Keep a bucket of water or water hose nearby while discharging fireworks.
- Only discharge fireworks in areas far away from combustible materials like buildings, trees, and dry grass.
- Keep spectators a safe distance away, upwind from the area where fireworks are being discharged.
- Light only one firework at a time, and only if they are on the ground. Never attempt to light fireworks in your hand or re-light duds. For dud fireworks, wait for 30 minutes and soak them in a bucket of water before disposing of them in a metal container.
- Only discharge fireworks if wind conditions are safe.
- Keep sparklers away from children. They burn extremely hot and can ignite clothing, causing blindness or serious burns. Since the sparkler wire remains hot for several minutes after burnout, it should be dipped in water immediately to avoid injury.
- If someone gets burned, run cool water over the wound for three to five minutes and seek medical attention if necessary..
Sparklers Are Dangerous
Every year, young children can be found along parade routes and at festivals with sparklers in hand, but sparklers are a lot more dangerous than most people think.
Sparklers burn at about 2,000 degrees – hot enough to melt some metals. Sparklers can quickly ignite clothing, and children have received severe burns from dropping sparklers on their feet. According to the National Fire Protection Association, sparklers alone account for more than 25% of emergency room visits for fireworks injuries. For children under 5 years of age, sparklers accounted for nearly half of the total estimated injuries.
Consider using safer alternatives, such as glow sticks, confetti poppers or colored streamers.
Fireworks affect on Wildlife, Livestock and Pets
Fireworks and other explosive materials that produce sparks, flames, and fumes can cause significant harm to wildlife and animals. These harmful effects often impact animals who are human companions, as well as animals in both urban and rural areas. Below are some ways that fireworks harm animals:
Physical harm caused to hearing organs:
The hearing of many animals is much more sensitive than it is in humans, so the explosions of fireworks not only disturb them more, but also can damage their hearing severely. Fireworks can emit sounds of up to 190 decibels. This can lead to hearing loss and tinnitus, and dogs have been known to suffer irreversible hearing loss caused by proximity to the noise of gunfire.
Fear and stress:
Fireworks harm animals by causing fear. Repeated exposure to loud, unexpected, and unpredictable noises can cause phobias in many animals, increasing panic reactions to loud noises in the future. Fireworks are responsible for one-fifth of disappearances of animals who are human companions. The effects of fireworks on animals can be observed very clearly in zoos. The noise of fireworks makes animals such as rhinos and cheetahs very nervous and visibly affects others such as elephants, while rodents continue running minutes after the noises cease.
Harmful effects by chemical particles:
Firecrackers release harmful particles such as fine dust (PM10) that is toxic to inhale. It can worsen existing diseases and cause others. Fireworks represent a danger both to animals who live in areas where they explode, or in relatively distant locations when the wind transports the particles. The chemicals are also dangerous for cats and dogs, just as they are for humans with respiratory diseases such as asthma.
Different animals are affected by fireworks:
Dogs are able to hear up to 60,000hz, while humans can’t hear anything above 20,000hz, making the sound of fireworks particularly harmful to them. Dogs show signs of overwhelming anxiety as they are unable to escape from the sound. Common reactions include freezing or paralysis, uncontrolled attempts to escape and hide, and tremors. The reaction of dogs to the sound of fireworks is similar to post-traumatic stress in human animals.
The effects of fireworks on cats are less obvious, but their responses are similar to those of dogs, such as trying to hide or escape. However, regardless of the fear they have, they have a higher risk of being poisoned.
Horses can easily feel threatened by fireworks due to their hypervigilance since they are constantly on high alert due to possible predators. Horses also act quite similarly to dogs and cats, showing signs of stress and fear, and trying to flee or escape.
The noise of firecrackers can cause birds tachycardia and even death by fright. The high degree of stress birds experience is indicated by the fact that birds may temporarily or permanently abandon the places where they are.
Invertebrates and small vertebrates:
The harms caused to invertebrates and small vertebrates have been evaluated much less than those caused to the animals discussed above. Presumably, these animals can do little to avoid harm if the explosions occur in areas near where they live. Keep in mind that for these animals fireworks are very large explosions, so the harms to them can be much greater than in other animals.
Post Traumatic Stress and Noise
Fireworks can be a source of joy and celebration for many people. However, for some individuals with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), the loud noises and bright flashes can trigger anxiety, fear, and distress. It is important to be mindful of the impact fireworks may have on those with PTSD and to take steps to minimize the noise and disruption, such as informing neighbors in advance and using noise-cancelling headphones or earplugs. By being considerate and understanding, we can ensure that everyone can enjoy the festivities in their own way.