Portland residents asked to skip personal fireworks this year

HILLSBORO, Ore. (KGW) — Fourth of July is here and some officials are asking people to skip home fireworks this year. That includes the mayor of Beaverton and Tualatin firefighters.

In a message earlier this month, Beaverton Mayor Lacey Beaty urged residents of Washington County to refrain from using fireworks. She cited the threat of wildfires and the impact they can have on pets and veterans.

“Household pets are often terrorized by the loud noises, and many pet owners turn to tranquilizers in an attempt to soothe the anxieties experienced by their furry friends. Moreover, many community members including veterans, those with PTSD, and others are re-traumatized by the sights and sounds of fireworks and threat of wildfires,” Beaty wrote.

Tualatin Valley Fire and Rescue (TVF&R) is suggesting people in their area go see a professional show this year instead of lighting off their own.

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“The first thing we’re going do is avoid using fireworks if we can. They’re just such a harm to everyone around, right — the dogs, the veterans, the fire risks … there’s lots of reasons to not do fireworks,” said Rio Espinosa with TVF&R.

Rio said if you insist on lighting your own, be aware and respect your neighbors and their pets by keeping it to a minimum and avoiding loud fireworks.

The pets will appreciate that, according to Stacy Beckley, Washington County Animal Services animal behavior and outreach coordinator.

Bonnie Hayes Animal Shelter in Hillsboro is preparing to help extra pets over the holiday period. But there’s a lot you can do proactively to prepare.

First, make sure that your pet has identification on them, both tags and hopefully a microchip.

“The other thing they want to do now is they want to check their fences and gates and make sure the gates are latching, the doors are closing, so we can keep animals safe,” said Beckley. “They also want to create a safe space in their home now so they can get used to it.”

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Washington County Animal Services also recommends keeping your pets inside, in a place they feel safest. Also, check in advance with your veterinarian if you feel your pet would do better with a sedative. And even for short outdoor potty breaks, keep your dog on a leash.

If they get away, look immediately and alert your neighbors. And, Beckley said, “We also really encourage you to take a look on social media and post on social media, specifically people tend to post about animals on Nextdoor and Facebook.”

Finally, check with Bonnie Hayes or your local animal shelter to report your pet lost and to see if they’ve been found.

Fireworks are an Independence Day tradition. But beyond pets, firefighters hope you’ll consider what pyrotechnics can do when they get out of control.

“These last few weeks have really dried things out. Granted it’s only been a week and a half since we had downpours, but we haven’t had any rain since and it’s pretty dry so there’s definitely a high risk,” said Rios.

More information on fireworks safety can be found on TVF&R’s website. For additional information on what to do if you lose or find a pet, visit Washington County’s website and click on “Pet Lost & Found.”

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