Around the Miami Valley
7:56 am
Fri July 4, 2014

Avoid Unofficial Fireworks Displays This July Fourth

Fireworks at Dayton's Riverscape Park Thursday.
Credit Jerry Kenney / WYSO

Dayton celebrated Independence Day with 4th of July fireworks at Riverscape Park last night, and tonight look out for fireworks displays in Yellow Springs, Moraine, Englewood and at the Centerville Americana Festival. There are also displays at King’s Island and Waynesville.

Hitting an official show is a good idea, because some experts are recommending against backyard fireworks—saying they may not be legal, and that they can be disturbing or even traumatic for veterans.

"Families that I’ve spoken to kind of dread holidays like this, the celebratory stuff," says Suzanne Robinson with NAMI Homefront, a program that helps families of returning vets. She explains that returning veterans are often hyper vigilant and says unexpected loud fireworks can cause a post-traumatic stress episode.

“Obviously when you are prepared for something coming like that, your startle response is not going to be quite the same, but when you are not prepared for that and suddenly your neighbor lights things off and you are hearing these noises and you were not expecting it, it can throw you off,” she says.

There’s another good reason why people shouldn’t set off illegal backyard fireworks or take their dogs to fireworks displays. Teresa Landon with the Ohio SPCA says fireworks and dogs don’t go together.

"It’s very traumatizing, very frightening for them," says Landon.

Mary Hiser with the Capital Area Humane Society agrees.

"They are not aware of what’s going on, and they have a fairly strong fight and flight response," she says, adding that the day following fireworks is often a big day for animal control because terrified animals have wandered off. 

Hiser and Landon also warn pet owners to be careful when walking animals around this time of year because they can find debris from fireworks and eat it, causing a potentially poisonous reaction that can hurt or kill the animals.  And animal activists say pets should not be left outside unattended during this holiday season.

Just because fireworks can be purchased in Ohio doesn’t mean they can be legally used. Most fireworks sold here must be taken out of state within 48 hours, and in most Ohio cities, using illegal fireworks without a permit is a first-degree misdemeanor.