Northern Wyoming Daily News - Serving the Big Horn Basin for over 100 years

By Karla Pomeroy

Be safe and courteous as you celebrate our independence


July 1, 2017

It is almost the Fourth of July but for some this will be a four-day week and fireworks galore.

The BLM, city and county have graciously allowed fireworks out at the gravel pit again for every day through the Fourth of July. This allows people who can't shoot off fireworks at their own residence a safe place to shoot them off.

The area is also great for another reason, there are no neighbors or dogs.

If your dogs do not like loud noises, or you do not know if they do, do not take them with you. Make sure your dogs are in a safe place. Every year on social media I will see where someone has posted that their dog got scared from the fireworks and ran off.

Every dog is different and you need to know your pets. We have one dog that like to bark at the noise. We have one who gets scared and one who doesn't seem to pay attention to them, but that's our young'un so we'll be mindful she hasn't really experienced a Fourth of July yet, just a few fireworks last weekend after the drag races across the way.

Also be mindful of your neighbor's pets, which again, makes the gravel pit a nice area to shoot off fireworks.

Last year, Cloud Peak Veterinary Services veterinary technician Natasha Vega offered some tips on helping your dog through the Fourth of July fireworks season, get your dog plenty of exercise early in the day. Keep your dog inside, but make sure it's cool.

We also have a "noise maker" for sleeping at night that we turn on for our dogs, to help drowned out the noise when we shoot off fireworks.

Vega also said make sure your dog has a good collar with identification tags in case the dog does get loose.

I mentioned earlier to be mindful of your neighbors as well. Not everyone tolerates loud bangs or loud noises at all, included among those are combat veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder.

In an article last July in the Northern Wyoming Daily News, Sheridan Veterans Administration Health Care System staff psychologist Eric Crawford said, "Fireworks, in particular the real concussive, loud and bright fireworks that you sometimes see during the Fourth of July, they can be a source of pretty significant distress for some combat veterans with PTSD. It is fairly common for exposure to those kinds of fireworks to trigger symptoms in veterans with PTSD, such as nightmares, flashbacks, increased anxiety, depression or other kinds of feelings that might be associated with their traumatic experiences. It is a fairly common source of distress for some veterans with PTSD."

If you don't know your neighbor, reach out to them and let them know you'll be setting off fireworks.

Residents should be aware that fireworks are prohibited within the city limits in Worland and on public lands. The only exception is the BLM land at the gravel pit.

If you're shooting off fireworks on your own property, whether in the county, or within municipalities that allow them (such as Lovell), make sure you are prepared if embers from the fireworks cause a fire.

The potential, or lack thereof, of a fire, is another reason the gravel pit area is a safe environment to shoot off fireworks.

This Fourth of July weekend, also be mindful that the Big Horn River is still above flood stage and some banks are eroding so Washakie County Emergency Management Coordinator Jeff Schweighart is asking residents to stay away from the banks and be careful around water.

There is much to celebrate this weekend and on Tuesday as we celebrate 241 years of independence, but I encourage everyone to celebrate safely and be courteous.

That being said I'll give fair warning to our neighbors, you may be hearing some noise from us as we celebrate loudly on Tuesday, with our dogs safely tucked away in the bedroom.

Have a safe and happy Fourth of July.


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