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Maybe It’s Time to Rethink Fireworks?

I love fireworks. They’re explosive. They’re spectacular. But sometimes I wonder, do we really need them? Is it time to examine their purpose and rethink how we use them for celebrations?

My case against fireworks:

1. They’re overused

One of the awe-inspiring aspects of fireworks is that we don’t see them every day. But about this time of year, you start hearing them set off every night. It really dampens the awe when you’re dealing with noise issues every night while you’re trying to get a child to sleep. Even at the community fireworks display last year, there were at least two rival displays going from parking lots and homes. Why so many?

2. They’re expensive.

If individuals are choosing to spend their money on personal fireworks, that’s a choice. But did you know the cost for a community display can range from $5,000-$100,000 with the average cost being around $25,000? Couldn’t our communities spend this money on things that have a greater impact, like community services, playgrounds, roads, infrastructure? I know that often fireworks are funded through fundraising, but even that comes at a cost. 

3. They can be unsafe for pets.

More pets are lost on the 4th of July than any other day of the year. The noise associated with fireworks can cause many pets to become frantic. This can lead to damage inside the house, or often they run away trying to find a safer, calmer space. Maybe this isn’t reason enough alone to cancel the fireworks, but either way here’s a great resource to help keep your pets safe this year. 

4. They can cause real trauma for veterans and others with PTSD including survivors of mass shootings.

The noise fireworks make is very similar to gunshots and can bring on physical and mental stress as the sounds, especially when unexpected, bring on flashbacks and memories from traumatic situations. There are several ways we can all help with this, like letting neighbors know if we plan to use fireworks, but even at a simpler level, is being aware that not everyone enjoys fireworks. 

What could we do instead?

I don’t expect that communities across the country will give up their fireworks displays. But maybe, we could rethink, how often, how much, and when we’re putting them up? We can also take steps to protect our neighbors and pets who have the potential for trauma related to fireworks. We can also encourage our communities to be fiscally responsible. We can have a conversation. And maybe by doing so, we can make them even more special?

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