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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Leave fireworks to the pros July 4.

Courtesy City of Milton

Personal safety, well-being of animals at risk

MILTON, Ga., June 28, 2011 - In Milton, using consumer fireworks to celebrate the Fourth of July holiday puts more than just people at risk, so please use the utmost caution and work with your neighbors to minimize the danger.

DANGER TO PEOPLE

City of Milton Fire Chief Robert Edgar warns residents that every year thousands of people, most often children and teens, are injured while using consumer fireworks. Despite the dangers of fireworks, few people understand the associated risks - devastating burns, other injuries, fires and even death.

According to a 2009 report by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission there are about 200 fireworks injuries a day during the month surrounding the Fourth of July holiday. The National Fire Protection Association also reports more fires are called in on Independence Day than other day of the year. More than half of these fires are caused by fireworks.

The City of Milton Fire Department hosts a full list of the U.S. Fire Administration's summer safety tips, including how to safely and properly handle the small explosives. On this page, you'll also find tips on safely barbecuing and a wealth of information on protecting your home against common fires.

DANGER TO ANIMALS

Equestrian farm owners in Milton have long contended with horses spooked by fireworks, not to mention the fire danger of dry pastures or barns filled with hay.

This year, the Milton Horse Council, a local non-profit group, is trying to raise awareness of the situation.

"We all like fireworks," said Laura Bentley, one of the founders of the group. "We understand it's just a lack of awareness and are willing to be flexible and understanding with our neighbors."
MiMi Sullivan of the Milton Horse Council owns a farm on Bethany Way. Each year, she tries to prepare her animals for the inevitable explosions late into the night.

"Horses are fight-or-flight animals, so they will run at the first sign of danger," she said. "They hurt themselves or people - they'll jump a fence or sometimes just run right through it. It's a very scary situation."

Roger Brown, who owns Brownwood Farm on Wood Road, said often his neighbors, who live in residential neighborhoods, don't realize how close they are to full-scale farming operations. On New Year's Day, Brown lost a foal when its mother panicked, ran and miscarried.

"Even in stalls, the horses still can be injured when they get panicked - and you don't get close to a panicked horse,"
he said. "The best thing I can tell people is to just let your neighbors know - we can plan for this sort of thing - and help us create a safer situation for ourselves and the animals."

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