Celebrating July 4th safely with kids, pets

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Authorities are reminding everyone to play it safe when celebrating this Fourth of July weekend. (WLS)

Authorities are reminding everyone to play it safe when celebrating this Fourth of July weekend.

Fireworks are a big part of the festivities, and safety officials urge people to leave them to the professionals. There are ways to make it a safe and happy holiday for your family, as well as your pets.

Imagine a regular sparkler in the hands of children who are playing. When one child bumps into another, a fire can be sparked in a matter of seconds.

"If the child panics and runs the fire will get larger quickly. Hopefully they've learned what the fire department has taught them, and that is: stop, drop and roll," said Asst. Chief Michael Figolah, Bartlett Fire Dept.

That's the scenario the Bartlett Fire Department demonstrated Tuesday as local communities all over Chicago get ready for July 4th celebrations. It is part of a yearly effort to dissuade people from purchasing fireworks.

"There are more fires on July 4th than any other day of the year," said Chief Michael Falese, Bartlett Fire Dept.

The purchase of fireworks in Illinois is illegal. Sparklers, designated as a novelty item, are not, unless individual municipalities, such as Chicago deem otherwise. Sparklers can burn up to 1,800 degrees. Most of the injured are children under the age of 15.

"Parents would never hurt their own child, but they don't know because we don't know. They look harmless," Figolah said.

Animal care advocates are also calling on folks to exercise care this holiday weekend. Fireworks are not your pet's friend.

"He gets really scared. He kind of cries. Wants everyone to be around," said Kathy Cepuran, a dog owner.

July 5th is the busiest day at shelters nationwide as cats and dogs run away from home, scared by the noise. That's why it's important to prepare in advance.

"Find a nice, cool, dark place where the animal feels at home," said Dr. Donna Alexander, Cook County Animal and Rabies Control.

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