Firework safety advice and the firework code
Always follow the Firework Code
When buying fireworks, make sure they comply with BS 7114 and are clearly marked for their intended use "Indoor, Garden or Display"
- Keep fireworks in a sealed box or tin
- Use them one at a time, replacing the lid immediately
- Never put fireworks in your pocket
- Read the instructions carefully, using a torch or hand lamp never use a naked flame
- Light fireworks at arms length using a taper or a firework lighter
- Stand well back and never return to a firework after it has been lit, it could explode in your face
- Ensure that all chidren with fireworks are well supervised
- Never throw fireworks
- Keep all pets and animals indoors
- Take care of sparklers, wear gloves to hold them and dispose of sparklers in a bucket of water as soon as they are finisheds
The British Standard for Fireworks (BS 7114) defines 4 types of firework
- Category 1 Fireworks
Indoor Fireworks - For use in extremely restricted areas such as indoors
- Category 2 Fireworks
Garden Fireworks - For use in limited areas such as gardens
- Category 3 Fireworks
Display Fireworks - For use in open areas such as school playing fields
- Category 4 Fireworks
Professional use only
When buying fireworks ALWAYS look for those complying with the British Standard.
Always read the instructions on the firework, and DO WHAT THEY SAY!
Looking after your pets on firework night
Fireworks and the loud bangs they emit are not much fun for animals, especially those who cannot escape to quieter places. The following was kindly supplied by Dean Hart and should be read by all dog owners and people who care about animals.
Managing Your Dog on Firework Night
- Purchase a DAP diffuser, DAP Collar or DAP Spray from your local Pet Shop, Canine Centre or Vet. This Dog Appeasement Pheromone helps dogs cope with anxiety and may keep them a little calmer. You can find out more details by talking to your Vet or look up 'DAP' on line. This dog appeasing pheromone simply plugs into a power point like an air freshener.
- Most frightened dogs want to bolt or hide. Ensure you have a special bolt hole that is a dark quite place for them, such as a cupboard under the stairs or under the bed. Place loads of bedding material and something of your own scent like an old jumper for them to bury themselves. Even a blanket over your dog's head may be enough to help reduce the levels of anxiety. Start feeding your dog in here before Firework night so the dogs get used to the new place.
- Some dogs will bark at the Fireworks and try to chase them – these dogs are still anxious and should be dealt with in the same way, they are trying to chase away what they are frightened of. Do not let them out to bark at the fireworks as this only increases the undesirable behaviour.
- Make sure you place your DAP Diffuser either in the cupboard or as near to this hide out as possible. Remember dogs do strange things when they panic so make sure that any electrical wires are kept away and all is safe.
- Do NOT USE ACP from your Vet. This medication is used to restrain dogs and is no longer being used by those Vets who understand behaviour. A dog on ACP will still be as frightened and will panic, however due to the muscle relaxant will not be able to do anything about it. Dogs given ACP by their Vets will suffer more and their negative experience will increase each time they hear a Firework regardless of the periods. So next year they will also be worse. Ask your Vet for an anti-anxiety medication such as Valium as this also blocks out your dog’s short-term memory. This is a far better option for the welfare of your dog.
- Do not make a fuss of your dog. They learn that in order to cope they must be near you and when you make a fuss of them, you increase the learned aspect of the behaviour. The objective of management is to try to lower the anxiety and encourage independence.
- Try increasing the volume on the television and put all the lights on so that both the noise and the flash of the Firework is reduced.
- For those pets less stressed you can play with them and try to redirect their behaviour by doing something with you. These dogs may also respond by giving them something really tasty for a change like Chicken or smelly paste stuffed into a Kong. Nervous dogs will completely ignore play or food as they are shutting down the thinking part of the brain.
- Do not tell your dog off for any of the negative behaviours they show. Some dogs like to dig or scratch at the wall. This is a bit like a panic attack. The part of the brain that is driving the behaviour is motivated by emotional arousal, this part of the brain then switches off the part of the brain that does the thinking. When your dog is very frightened or anxious they physically cannot register what you are saying to them. It would not be kind to punish any behaviour associated with fear as it would be like telling off your best friend who panics about flying.
- Try putting something over your pet’s ears to reduce the sound. This is only possible with dogs that have easier natures as some dogs dislike things on their heads.
- Always praise any calm behaviour and ignore any negative. Praise that shapes behaviour far more than punishment.
- Do not leave your frightened or over anxious dog alone in the house. They need supervision as panic attacks can lead to unexpected behaviours.
- There are plenty of things you can do before the Firework season so get ready for next year. Getting dogs used to the sounds is possible and any qualified behaviourist will be able to help you prepare in the summer for what the winter months bring on. Desensitisation and counter-conditioning are methods used to reduce your dog’s negative experiences.
If you have any helpful suggestions for looking after pets and animals throughout the bonfire season, please send them to me via www.lewesonline.com
RSPCA - www.rspca.org.uk
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