Fireworks safety tips for the festive season

2018-11-08 06:01

WITH the festive season around the corner; and members of the community gearing up for fun staple dates such as,Diwali, Guy Fawkes, and New Years Day; it is imperative that the four-legged members of the family are taken into consideration during this raucous period.

As exciting as fireworks are for humans, it is not only jarring from the perspective of animals but extremely dangerous, and in some instances cruel.

Speaking on why precautions for pets is necessary, PRO of the SPCA Michelle Hannan said: “As pets have very sensitive hearing they tend to be scared by loud noises.

“Their hearing is far more sensitive than ours. Therefore they will be frightened by noises so much easier than we will be. Unfortunately, you can’t explain to them that these noises can’t hurt them.”

“Firstly you need to make sure that you have enough medication on hand for your dog or cat if he/she is scared of thunder or fireworks. The different types of medication you can get include Calmeeze (sold at SPCA) and Ecofear (sold at Dischem).

“Secondly, make sure your animal is inside and safe whenever a storm hits or if there is going to be firework celebrations.

“This is key to making sure your animals don’t injure themselves or run away and get lost or injured.

“Make sure they are with someone caring, compassionate and understanding. If you aren’t at home, make sure they are in a respectable boarding facility, such as the one we have here.

“Always make sure your pets have visible identification on their collars or even better, we only charge R240 to microchip your pet. This could be essential [to] lifesaving if your animal is found injured.

“Also make sure your fence and gates are high enough for your dog not to be able to get out and make sure all gates are closed and securely locked,” added Hannan.

In addition to pets, human safety is also a great concern.

Resident Preshika Lal said: “The situation can definitely get out of hand. There are instances reported every year. This is literally fire and gunpowder that you are playing with. Safety measures are a must.”


• Keep a bucket of water nearby in case of a malfunctioning firework.

• Be sure to set off the fireworks in an area clear of people.

• Fireworks should only be lit in a designated area away from homes and other buildings, trees and cars.

• Never light fireworks on the grass, but always on a smooth, flat surface such as concrete or the pavement.

• If a firework does not ignite, do not attempt to re-light it. Wait at least 15 minutes before you investigate.

• Never allow children to touch, handle or light fireworks.

• Pet owners need to take special precaution in keeping their pets safe. Don’t take pets to firework shows — rather lock them up safely inside the house. Pick up leftover sparklers or other sharp objects, as these could injure your pet later. A mild sedative or tranquiliser can calm the fears of an extremely stressed animal. Speak to your vet about this.

• Sparklers can be just as dangerous. Always light sparklers one at a time and wear gloves. Never hold a baby or child if you have a sparkler in your hands. Don’t take sparklers to crowded public displays, as it will be too crowded to use them safely.

• Put finished sparklers with the hot end down in a bucket of water as soon as they have burnt out.

• Never give sparklers to children under five — they will not understand how to use them safely — and always supervise children using sparklers. Give children gloves to wear when holding sparklers. Avoid dressing children in loose or flowing clothes as they may catch fire. Show children how to hold sparklers away from their bodies and at arm’s length. Teach them not to wave sparklers or run while holding them.

• In an emergency do the following — cool the burn or scald with cold water for at least 10 minutes. Cut around material sticking to the skin — don’t pull it off. Don’t touch the burn or burst any blisters. Cover the burn with clean, non-fluffy material — cling film is ideal — to prevent infection. If clothing catches fire, get the person to stop, drop to the floor and roll them in heavy material such as a woollen blanket.


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