|Photo by Alexander Kagan on Unsplash|
Fireworks are a common form of celebration, obviously enjoyed by many. In Lac Le Jeune we have a long-time tradition of fireworks to bring in the new year. Some years we hear fireworks on halloween night and during Canada Day celebrations if weather/wildfire situation permits. In any case, the dates and times we could expect to hear fireworks have always been fairly predictable.
This winter there has been both scheduled and random firework activity. In some cases residents have made an effort to warn others through the LLJ Facebook group. Thank you! This is helpful for those of us who need to prepare our pets.
How do you help nervous pets?It's multi-step and time-sensitive. You can download an entire book on the subject, but here's a quick list is from my own experience.
1. Get a thundershirt or other body wrap on well before the fireworks begin
2. Ensure all escape routes are closed off -- pets may bolt and NEVER return
3. Help pets gain access to locations where they can feel less traumatized -- e.g. basement, under a bed, corner of a bathroom -- there's something appealing about tile floors.
4. Play calming/drowning music. Vivaldi works for us.
5. Stay with them!
6. Help them recuperate (which is why it's helpful to know when the fireworks are going to end). I use treats and play.
What's it like for wildlife?This is a well researched topic. The issues are too many to list -- permanent hearing loss, nesting animals flee, panicked and disoriented animals get separated from their young, death from impact with buildings and traffic... and so on.
TrendsWhat is the appeal of fireworks? Noise for some, but there is also the spectacular light display. I don't know if we have these spectacular displays in Lac Le Jeune because I'm in the basement :) However, some cities like Banff have implemented silent light shows.
Complete bans on the sale and use of fireworks are being implemented around the world because of the negative impact on wildlife.
What's legal?There are no no bylaws governing fireworks in the Thompson Nicola Regional District. There is a bylaw regarding "excessive and persistent" noise. I don't expect it would ever come to that but it's good to know there is some recourse. And if we do feel there should be a specific fireworks bylaw this is something we can work toward.
Other solutions?Personally I prefer a more community-oriented approach which involves education to raise awareness about the downside of fireworks. I've contacted WildSafeBC to see if there are any resources and programs in place.
What's the ask?Nobody wants to be the fun police! My attitude is occasional noise in our community is fine as long as it's about having fun. Even though I don't personally understand the appeal of fireworks I appreciate that others enjoy them. A lot! So the ask is the same for any type of noise and for any day or occasion:
Consider celebrating with everyone in mind.
In that vein, Christmas Eve is definitely not the time for fireworks. Let's not do that again, ok?