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Before lighting up fireworks, consider effects on others

While Fourth of July remains more than a week away, reports already are coming in of fireworks being set off in the area.

While pyrotechnics may seem like a fun way to celebrate after a year of being cooped up, for some fireworks are an annual ordeal.

It’s led to ordinances in several area communities on just what, when and where fireworks can be used.

So before deciding to set off fireworks, best be aware of what’s allowed in your community.

Michigan law establishes 12 days in which local governments can’t ban fireworks, all around federal holidays. They are:

— Dec. 31 until 1 a.m. on Jan. 1;

— Saturday and Sunday of Memorial Day weekend until 11:45 p.m.;

— June 29 to July 4 — and July 5 if the date falls on a Friday or Saturday — until 11:45 p.m.;

— Saturday and Sunday of Labor Day weekend until 11:45 p.m.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture also reminds the public that fireworks and other pyrotechnic devices are prohibited on all national forest system lands.

Even if the state does guarantee a dozen days of fireworks, it’s worth considering who might be affected in your neighborhood.

Phantom Fireworks Companies of Youngstown, Ohio, a fireworks distributor and retailer, asked in a recent letter that those using these devices have some respect and consideration for others. They recommend communicating with neighbors well in advance and ending the show at a reasonable time.

“We often get too caught up in the excitement and entertainment of fireworks lighting up the sky that we forget the noise and lights may have an adverse effect on some people and animals,” Phantom Fireworks stated in a letter.

Such as veterans dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder.

A significant number of dogs, too, experience noise anxiety — experts cite different percentages for the problem, but several sources state that 20 to 40% of canines will cringe, tremble or flee when the booms and flashing lights begin. Some become so terrified they have to be sedated.

Treatments are available for noise anxiety in canines, such as swaddling jackets, homeopathic remedies, soothing music CDs and medications.

But those who have pets that cower at the first pop, bang, whistle or shriek likely would appreciate it if you’d limit the duration of that backyard show — or forego it altogether.

So before setting off that rocket or Roman candle, consider the proximity to your neighbors, especially if they have dogs. Consider the time of day — or, even more, night. Consider how often you’re firing up those fireworks.

Even more, consider the necessity.

With Independence Day falling on a Sunday, fans of fireworks can find multiple nights of shows in the region. The cost to travel to one of these displays likely would be far less — and the firepower far better — than trying to do it yourself at home.

Why not plan instead to sit back on a blanket or lawn chair, relax and let the professionals provide the pyrotechnics this Fourth of July holiday? It’s safer, it’s cheaper and your neighbors will thank you.

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