Be responsible with fireworks this July 4th

Published 12:38 pm Thursday, June 29, 2017

With the Fourth of July a mere week away, fireworks season is officially open in Winchester and Clark County.

Tuesday was the first day of sales in the county, with nine vendors open. With open sales here and the holiday quickly approaching, there will be plenty of opportunities for residents to enjoy fireworks.

Along with the thrill of fireworks comes a responsibility to be safe, but also to be courteous of others while celebrating.

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The loud pops, bangs and pretty colors can be fun for some, but can pose a problem for others. As you celebrate the Fourth of July, it is important to be mindful of how your actions affect your neighbor

City ordinance only allows fireworks to be discharged between 10 a.m. and 11 p.m. It also stipulates fireworks can not be used within 200 feet of any building, vehicle or person. As Fire Marshal Gary Henry noted, this stipulation leaves few places in town where fireworks can legally and safely be set off. Most residential neighborhoods and locations within city limits do not meet these criteria.

When setting off fireworks, it’s important to be mindful of those who are trying to sleep after 11 p.m. Many pets are frightened by the blasts and will either run off from their yard to get away from the noise or sit up barking throughout the night.

Additionally, a new movement is raising awareness about the effect fireworks can have on people with post-traumatic stress disorder. PTSD affects about 8 million adults annually, with about 10 to 15 percent of those being veterans. Loud, sudden blasts of noise can be triggering for these individuals.

By following the rules laid out in a city ordinance, people who have concerns about fireworks can manage to avoid or work around the time frames when fireworks should be set off, and fireworks most likely will not be unexpectedly going off directly above peoples’ homes in the middle of the night.

The Fourth of July is a wonderful time to celebrate our country’s independence, but with all celebrations come a responsibility to be considerate, safe and responsible. There are ways to enjoy fireworks without disturbing your neighbors or breaking the law.

We encourage everyone to take an opportunity to celebrate by attending the community fireworks show at Lykins Park Tuesday, July 4 funded by the Winchester Board of Commissioners and Clark County Fiscal Court. The gates open at 7 p.m. and the fireworks show starts at dusk.