As we embrace celebrating our nation’s 239th birthday this weekend, the Town-Crier encourages residents to think before they drink, party safely and leave fireworks to the experts.
The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office will be enforcing its ban on illegal fireworks this weekend, and with good reason. Every year, thousands of people and animals are killed or critically injured by fireworks. The PBSO encourages the safe use of sparklers and other legal items in an open, flat area with a hard surface, and to keep children and pets at least 30 feet away from all ignited fireworks. Even so, there is still a risk of injury using these items. When lit, some sparklers can reach temperatures between 1,300 and 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit — at least 200 degrees hotter than a standard butane lighter. The PBSO also advises partiers to light only one item at a time, and to never attempt re-lighting a dud. It is also recommended to keep a fire extinguisher or water hose on hand for emergencies.
You should try to think about pets as well — especially if you keep horses or live in an area that allows horses. If necessary, contact your veterinarian and inquire about giving horses or house pets a sedative to help keep them from hurting themselves when reacting to the loud noises and bright lights created by fireworks. Take the time to check all fence lines and door latches to ensure that pets and horses cannot get loose.
In addition, the nonprofit organization Military With PTSD is encouraging Fourth of July partiers to be mindful when setting off fireworks to honor Independence Day. Its “Explosions of Kindness” campaign is raising money to donate free yard signs to disabled veterans with PTSD which read “Combat veteran lives here. Please be courteous with fireworks.”
According to the organization, between seven and 20 percent of the more than 2.5 million veterans and troops who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan are believed to have developed PTSD. According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, loud blasts and flashing lights can sometimes induce panic attacks. PTSD is characterized by emotionally re-experiencing traumatic events. The thoughts are triggered for combat veterans by the sound of an explosion or gunfire, or even certain sights and smells.
So please, keep it safe. After all, residents of the western communities have many options for a day of family fun, followed by magnificent — and professionally run — fireworks displays.
Royal Palm Beach kicks the day off with the annual Red, White & Blue Fishing Tournament at Commons Park with registration from 6:30 to 9:30 a.m. There is also the Firecracker Golf Tournament starting at 8 a.m. at the Village Golf Club. The celebration then continues at Commons Park, starting at 1 p.m., with a Kids Fun Zone and live entertainment, food trucks, vendors, a cornhole tournament, spike ball and more. The night concludes with a patriotic display of fireworks beginning at 9 p.m. For more information, visit www.royalpalmbeach.com.
In Wellington, the day begins with a patriotic pool party at the Wellington Aquatics Complex from noon to 5 p.m. The fun continues at Village Park at 6 p.m. with face painting, a petting zoo, food trucks, pony rides, a bounce house, live music and more. There will be a parking shuttle from the Mall at Wellington Green starting at 6 p.m. The night will explode with fireworks beginning at 9:15 p.m. Bring blankets or chairs to enjoy the show. For more information, visit www.wellingtonfl.gov.
Happy Independence Day to all from your friends at the Town-Crier!