Stay safe! For those celebrating at home, Santa Rosa County Emergency Management urges the use of caution. Each Fourth of July, fireworks account for an average of 19,000 reported fires. In addition, thousands of people, most often children and teens, are injured while using consumer fireworks according to the National Fire Protection Association. Follow these tips to help keep you and your family safe:
- Purchase state-approved fireworks and sparklers from licensed vendors.
- Read and follow all warnings and instructions before using.
- Light fireworks and sparklers on a flat smooth surface away from combustible materials (not grass).
- Keep a fire extinguisher or water hose ready for emergencies.
- Never have any portion of your body directly over a firework or sparkler when lighting the fuse.
- Never allow children to use any firework or sparkler without supervision.
- Light only one item at a time and never attempt to re-light a "dud."
- Submerge used fireworks and "duds" in water prior to placing in trash receptacles.
Keep your pets safe! Remember, furbabies and fireworks don't mix! Shelters often see an increase in lost pets after fireworks displays. Santa Rosa County Animal Services asks you to follow these tips to help keep your pet safe:
- Keep pets indoors during the evening of July 4. Turn on the TV or radio as a distraction and close the curtains. Provide a pet bed or crate in a quiet place to create a small den-like place and a sense of security.
- Take your pet for an extra potty break before fireworks begin. If your pet becomes frightened, this can help prevent accidents.
- If your pet often becomes stressed from loud noises like thunderstorms, check with your veterinarian to see if a tranquilizer is appropriate for your pet during the festivities.
- If you are near a fireworks display or if neighbors are lighting fireworks, don't leave your pets unattended outside, not even in a fenced yard or on a chain. Frightened pets may try to escape a fenced yard or become tangled in their chains.
- Make sure your pets have proper identification tags with current information in the event they run away. If you must be outside with your pet, keep the pet on a leash or in a carrier at all times.
- Do not leave your pet in a vehicle while watching a fireworks display. In only a matter of minutes, the heat in a car can cause serious health problems or death, even at night. Also, a stressed animal can cause major damage to your vehicle's interior.
- If your pet is missing, call Santa Rosa County Animal Services at (850) 983-4680 or click the "Search Lost Pets" tab at www.santarosa.fl.gov/animals.
The following Santa Rosa County offices will be closed Mon., July 4 in observance of Independence Day:
- Santa Rosa County Board of Commissioners including the central landfill, library system and animal shelter.
- Santa Rosa County 9-1-1 dispatch, Lifeguard Ambulance Service and fire departments are open daily.
- Santa Rosa County Clerk of the Court
- Santa Rosa County Property Appraiser
- Santa Rosa County Supervisor of Elections
- Santa Rosa County Tax Collector
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