NORTHWEST MIAMI-DADE, FLA. (WSVN) - As revelers gear up to celebrate the red, white and blue across South Florida, officials are issuing words of warning to ensure they always put safety first.
Year after year, doctors say they see Fourth of July fireworks turn into explosive emergencies involving children, from burns to amputations. “Unfortunately, some of these lose their limbs from these severe injuries,” said Dr. Carlos Sanchez from North Shore Medical Center in Northwest Miami-Dade. “We also see injuries to the eye, such as burns to the cornea.”
Last Fourth of July, a firework landed on 14-year-old Brandon Miller’s head in Hallandale Beach. The firework was shot from across the street in his direction. “At first I thought it was people playing, until it started burning, and I started trying to pull it out, and my head started smoking,” he said.
To avoid these permanent consequences experts said you should first start by reading the instructions and never give fireworks to small children or point them at anyone. Only light one firework at a time, and eye and ear protection are always recommended.
“When a firework does not light or go off, many people go and see what happened, or they’ll grab it, and that’s a dangerous thing to do,” said Sanchez. “The recommendations are they should wait 20 minutes and pick up this fireworks later, after 20 minutes, then put it in a bucket of water.”
Fourth of July fireworks are an American tradition, but they don’t just cause problems with people. They can also create trauma, anxiety and stress for pets.
While celebrating U.S. freedom, many pets go trying to find freedom on their own. “Many shelters throughout the nation receive a high number of pets coming in to their shelters because they have escaped from home out of fear of fireworks and loud noises,” said Broward County Animal Care and Adoption Center spokesperson Lisa Mendheim. “They’ve gotten out of the house and end up in the shelter.”
Mendheim is trying to change that trend this year in South Florida with some simple tips:
- If you’re going to a fireworks display, leave pets at home
- If your four-legged family member is at home, keep them inside the most quiet part of your residence
- If they still hear the neighborhood pyrotechnics, try turning on a radio or TV to mask the noise
When it comes to pet safety on the Fourth, fireworks shouldn’t be the only concern. “Charcoal and lighter fluid, matches, all of those things are dangerous and toxic to pets,” said Mendheim. “Keep them out of the way of a dog or a cat.”
Should your pet escape this Independence Day, make sure they have their tags on beforehand, and if they’re microchipped, having updated information could save you even more heartache.
Experts also suggest exercising pets several times during that day so they are tired by the time fireworks kick off.
These are just a few tips to ensure the entire family enjoys the celebration of the American stars and stripes.
If you are looking for some fun and safe ways to celebrate the Fourth, here is a list of family-friendly events taking place around town.
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