Please don't have personal fireworks displays this year.
I can hear it now, "What?!?" "Mind your own business!" "I've got this - I've done this for years and no one's ever gotten hurt." And other comments I won't post, but know are coming.
I have 5 very good reasons why you should refrain from having personal fireworks displays, and here they are:
1. Fireworks are VERY dangerous.
Unless you are a certified or licensed explosives expert (specifically fireworks), you really don't know what you're getting into.
As a paramedic and ER tech, I saw life-changing injuries and burns, and even saw some people DIE from the blast injuries. These are no joke.
2. They are a fire hazard.
If a flying firework lands on a structure, or stationary object, it can cause a fire. Areas that are dry, or worse, in a drought, are especially vunerable.
As a firefighter, I saw a parked boat on a trailer catch fire because a bottle rocket landed on a seat cushion.
Then the garage it was sitting next to caught fire before anyone realized the boat was burning.
I also was on a call where a dry cornfield went up in a blazing inferno, because a kid shot a bottle rocket into it.
That cornfield happened to be directly west of a townhome neighborhood, and we had a westerly wind that day.
That single, little bottle rocket cause a 3-alarm fire while we tried to protect the townhomes from the wind-driven inferno.
You cannot control where those things land.
3. You really don't understand what fireworks do to combat vets suffering from PTSD.
Every window-shaking boom, every screaming rocket, every string of popping firecrackers is a living nightmare for them.
Please be courteous and sympathetic. Don't torture them this way. Don't you think they've been through enough?
4. In some places, they are illegal.
Here in Illinois, anything bigger than "snakes" or "sparklers" are illegal.
At this point, it becomes a moral issue....am I going to break the law and do what I want, or am I going to be the responsible adult and teach my children to respect the laws in place?
If you don't respect the laws laid out for you by the government, and you live that in front of your kids, how can you expect them to obey the rules at school, or in church, or in any other social setting when you are modeling just the opposite?
5. The 4th of July is when the greatest numbers of pets run away.
They are so frightened by the noise that many will bolt and never be seen by their families again.
My puggy FREAKS from fireworks. I have to stay in our basement with a box fan running to keep her from nearly killing herself with exhaustion from barking and running at every boom.
For pet owners - be responsible! Keep your pet inside. Get your pet micro-chipped, just in case.
OK. I'll step down off my soapbox. Thank you for being patient with me today and for understanding; I only do this once a year.
Above all else, have a happy and safe 4th of July!!
For a great list of local displays done by professionals, check out my fellow ChicagoNow blog, The Wild Side of Chicago's page - 4th of July 2014 Suburb & Chicago Fireworks List.
And the list for 2015 - Where to watch 4th of July Fireworks 2015
Proverbs 12:15 (ESV)
15 The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice.
Proverbs 18:15 (ESV)
15 An intelligent heart acquires knowledge, and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge.
How do you feel about personal fireworks displays? What are the laws where you live? Have you ever had an accident with a firework, or been somewhere that somebody else had an accident with one?
Tell me about it here in the comments, then be sure to stop by my Facebook page. I offer encouraging conversations and daily devotionals appropriate for people of any age.
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