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For most of us, the Fourth of July is a time to enjoy the company of family and friends, having fun and creating memories - whether at home or on vacation.

 

But for some families, the holiday is a nightmare. Homes each year in Indiana are damaged by wayward fireworks. Thousands of people are injured in accidents.

 

At General Insurance Services, we want your holiday to be happy, but also safe. So here are some tips to help you protect yourself and your property on the Fourth.

 

Protecting yourself (and others)

  • To minimize the risk of injury, don’t use consumer fireworks. Attend a public display conducted by professionals in our community or elsewhere.
  •  If using consumer fireworks, always follow instructions. Do not attempt to re-light “duds” or create homemade fireworks.
  • Never let children handle or light fireworks. Even sparklers, which burn at more than 1,000 degrees, can cause third-degree burns. Kids under the age of 15 account for approximately 40% of fireworks injuries, according to the U.S. Fire Administration.
  • A responsible adult should always be present when children - even teenagers - are around fireworks. More than half of fireworks injuries happen to those younger than 20 years old.

Protecting your home

  •  According to the National Fire Protection Association, the best way to protect your home is to not use fireworks at home.
  •  Remember, fireworks can cause grass fires and other types of blazes as well. Make sure you light fireworks in a safe area, away from homes and buildings, as well as other combustible material. Keep a fire extinguisher nearby in case of emergency.
  •  Look out for tree limbs or bushes that could catch fire. Trimming vegetation to keep it away from your home is a good idea anyway, but it could save you from a catastrophic fire on the Fourth of July.
  •  If your gutters have accumulated leaves, pine needles or other flammable material, clean them before using fireworks near your home.
  •  Finally, if you won’t be home on the holiday, ask a neighbor to keep an eye on your house if others in your neighborhood will be using fireworks.

Protecting your pets

Many pets are very frightened by the loud noises caused by fireworks. If you can’t take them away from the noise, here are some pointers from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals that will help them have a more peaceful holiday.

  • Don’t take your pet to a public fireworks display. In addition to the noise, they may be spooked by the crowds.
  •  If possible, leave your pet inside in a safe, secure room. Do not leave them outside, even if your yard is fenced. They may try to flee, and they may succeed; July 5 is a busy day at many animal shelters, as dogs and cats are frequently found miles from their homes. Taking your pet on a walk early in the day can help tire them out.
  • Give your pets a comfortable place to rest, as well as plenty of food and water. You might even leave a TV or stereo on to drown out the fireworks. Provide soothing music, if possible. A favorite toy (or their favorite owner!) can help comfort them, too.
  •  Make sure your pets have an ID tag or microchip, in case they get scared and escape.
  • Check with your veterinarian before giving your pet any medication intended to calm them. They may be able to provide you with a prescription or suggest alternatives.
  • And, of course, keep your pet away from used and unused fireworks.

With some common sense and planning, the Fourth of July can be both safe and enjoyable for everyone. We hope you have a wonderful time celebrating our independence!

Posted 4:08 PM  View Comments

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General Insurance Services
Michigan City
421 Franklin Street
Michigan City, IN 46360
(219) 879-4581
(800) 961-0953
M - F 8am-5pm
General Insurance Services
Valparaiso
4208 Calumet Ave, #100
Valparaiso, IN 46384
(219) 464-3511
(888) 844-8376
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General Insurance Services
La Porte
1200 Michigan Ave.
La Porte, IN 46350
(219) 362-2113
(800) 766-4478
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