Due to the annual fires, injuries and deaths associated with the use of fireworks, the City of Portland has banned the use of any fireworks, aerial luminary devices or pyrotechnics until further notice.
After an emergency declaration was signed by the mayor in 2021, the number of fires dropped dramatically and earlier this year Portland City Council unanimously passed an ordinance that banned the sale and use of personal fireworks as climate change increases the risk of deadly fires.
Commissioner Hardesty said, “At the end of the day, this ban is for the safety of our community as we adapt to the unfortunate realities of climate change. I also want to be clear that this ban does not prohibit professional, licensed firework displays like what we are accustomed to watching on the waterfront each Fourth of July.”
In addition to the tragic events and injuries resulting from firework use, they can be traumatizing and harmful to children, animals and a growing number of war veterans who experience Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
The Oregon Humane Society, along with other animal shelters, always see an increase in the number of lost dogs and cats that have gone missing on the holiday and remind owners to keep pets inside as much as possible on July 4, as well as the few days before and after.
All pets should wear a collar with ID tag including the owner’s name and phone number; a microchip is also a good idea. Animals that are agitated should be put into a bathroom or other room with no windows and a secure door. Over the counter medications and prescriptions from veterinarians are also available to ease their stress.
To get in the patriotic spirit without fireworks, the National Fire Protection Association has a few ideas. Glow sticks and red, white and blue silly string are fun for all ages and are a safe alternative to sparklers (which burn at twice the temperature that wood burns at). Be loud and proud with noise makers, which can be found at local party supply stores or made at home. Set up an outdoor movie night and/or throw a birthday party for the USA, complete with cake.
For the sake of our friends and family, our pets and our community, leave the fireworks to the professionals and find other ways to celebrate. There are plenty of creative ideas out there and if you have some, visit us at facebook.com/Southeastexaminer, to share them with our community.