Declare your independence from fireworks injuries

Chances are you’ve already started to hear the boom and crack of fireworks being set off by eager Fourth of July revelers.

Just to be clear, fireworks are illegal— even on the Fourth of July—in Calabasas, Agoura Hills, Westlake Village, Oak Park and surrounding unincorporated areas. Those caught launching fireworks could have to pay a hefty fine.

Forget the money; the most important thing is safety.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, the government agency charged with keeping Americans safe from faulty products, an average of 230 people a day are admitted to emergency rooms for fireworks-related injuries in the weeks just before and after Independence Day.

More than half of those are burn cases involving hands and fingers. Last year, two professional football players—Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback C.J. Wilson and New York Giants defensive end Jason Pierre- Paul—made national news when they lost digits to errant fireworks. Injuries to eyes, face and ears are a close second.

Oftentimes these accidents are fueled not just by bursting charges but by alcohol as well. Don’t fool around with fireworks, and especially don’t dabble with them if you’ve had a few cocktails.

Sitting in front of your computer?

Google “mannequins and fireworks” and you’ll have a blast watching examples of how fireworks can destroy the human body.

The results are, to say the least, horrific.

One other thing: The dry brush in the area is highly susceptible to catching fire from errant fireworks. A spark from a single downed power line was the cause of the nasty June 4 brush fire that threatened 3,000 homes in Calabasas and Topanga Canyon. Now imagine if those same backyards were allowed to have fireworks.

The best advice is to let the experts handle the bombs bursting in air. This year there are a number of wonderful fireworks shows hosted by the communities. Westlake Village (at the golf course) and Calabasas (at the high school) will have shows on Mon., July 4, and the City of Agoura Hills will light up the sky following a concert at Chumash Park on Sun., July 10.

The rockets’ red glare comes with another warning, this one from those who oversee pet shelters across the nation, including the Agoura Animal Shelter. The sight and sound of fireworks can be traumatic for pets.

One good idea is to exercise your dog before the festivities begin. Tired pets are more relaxed. Leave your dog inside the house with music or the television on to help muffle the noise of the fireworks.

Letting the professionals handle the pyrotechnics and keeping your pets protected will go a long way toward making this Fourth of July a safe and happy holiday.

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