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Enjoy fireworks safely for a Happy Independence Day celebration

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Independence Day fun often includes fireworks displays. Hundreds of municipalities across the state schedule impressive celebrations with community fireworks, while some people want to stage their own fireworks in their yards or neighborhoods.

Which fireworks are legal in Illinois? Which ones aren’t? How can you use legal fireworks safely on the Fourth of July? Here are some guidelines.

Legal consumer fireworks are defined by specific amounts of pyrotechnic composition material. Prohibited fireworks in Illinois are illegal because of their greater risk to the safety of users and the public. Thousands of people are injured or killed each year in consumer fireworks accidents, which is why police, fire and safety officials discourage their use by unlicensed people.

ILFireworkLawsAndSafety 4Detailed lists of which products are legal or not can be found on this flyer.

Using some legal fireworks at home? A few tips to choose where you light them, who handles them and what to do after you use them can keep your holiday enjoyable and safe. Keep them outdoors in a clear area, keep them away from children, be prepared with a bucket of water in case of emergency, and know how to store and discard the materials when done.

Learn more about fireworks law and safe practices: 
Illinois State Fire Marshal    Consumer Product Safety Commission

Fireworks and PTSD

Fireworks can be a source of stress for veterans who suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, loud blasts and flashing lights can sometimes induce panic attacks.

While many veterans can prepare for planned fireworks events in their community, the unexpected noises of neighborhood firecrackers can trigger stressful memories of the battlefield.

Some veterans may be reluctant to talk to neighbors about the issue. The nonprofit group Military with PTSD encourages veterans to have a polite conversation on the topic and agree to limits on when and where fireworks can be used.

An estimated 7% to 20% of the more than 2.5 million veterans and troops who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan are believed to have developed PTSD.

Marine Corps Community Services’ Fireworks and PTSD: How to Raise Awareness


Pets and Fireworks

Approximately 44% of all households in the United States have a dog, and 35% have a cat. Fireworks festivities can be frightening and even dangerous for animals. Noisy fireworks and other celebrations can startle animals and cause them to run away.

Do you know what day is historically the busiest day of the year in animal shelters all across the country? It’s July 5.

The safest place for your pet is safely inside your home, not in a crowded, unfamiliar park or a noisy backyard. Have proper identification in case your pet manages to break loose and become lost and have a recent picture of your pet in case you have to put up "lost pet" signs.

Just like people, pets should be kept away from used and unused fireworks that contain potentially toxic substances such as arsenic, potassium nitrate, and other heavy metals.

The ASPCA has more safety tips here.