First responders warn of fireworks dangers ahead of Fourth of July celebrations

It’s a caution we hear year after year: fireworks, and the dangers of them. 

This Fourth of July week, fire departments all across Chicagoland will respond to calls for help and victims will suffer any number of injuries. The worst of which, loss of sight, or even, fatality.

The Chicago Fire Department is hoping revelers will leave the fireworks shows to the professionals. Chicago has an ordinance banning sparklers, but they are legal elsewhere. Still, they can leave serious, lifelong injuries.

“Sparklers, they burn hot, the sparks that they give off pop and they move in unpredictable ways, so if you are going to use them, definitely with adult supervision,” said Deputy Chief Duane Mellema of Park Ridge Police.

To those who’ll be doing a little backyard barbecuing, police say be cautious, especially when cleaning up those hot coals.

“Don’t dump them out in your yard,” said Deputy Chief Mellema.”I know it’s rained a lot this year, but it still can catch the grass.”

The safety precautions extend from people to pets. 

“I’ve been with Luther since 2014. He’s my second dog. I started in the K-9 unit in 2004,” said K-9 Officer Mike Kmiecik of Bartlett Police. 

Officer Kmiecik posted a tweet, showing special earmuffs Luther will be wearing for the Fourth of July.

“They’re specially made for dogs,” K-9 Officer Kmiecik said. “So, he actually had those on and it just reduces the decibel level.”

Police say dogs with anxiety have serious issues the week of the Fourth with unpredictable noises and commotion. 

“You’ll still see the ears actually start to go back and lower and get closer to their body,” said K-9 Officer Kmiecik. “That’s No. 1 that the dog is experiencing some type of stress. The other thing that you’ll see is this yawn. It’s a stress yawn that they do. So if you start to see that, your dog is experiencing some type of anxiety.”

Veterinarians say the anxiety level in dogs rises with loud noises and large crowds, and police tend to see many runaway dogs the week of the Fourth. They may try to run away. 

It’s safety first for people and pets this Independence Day.