The showers of sparks that rained down on our heads the night of Fourth of July were inspiring — grandiose and touching all at once. Fireworks and Independence Day go together like old friends, a tradition that touches the heart. Long Island is home to many of these shows, from the Bald Hill spectacle to the fireworks set off on the West Beach in Port Jefferson.
Then there are the smaller shows, the ones put on by the local neighborhoods in the cool of night. While the grand displays of the professional shows are like standing in the majesty under the lights of Times Square, the small community shows are more like candles set along the mantle in a dark room. Both can be spectacular in their own ways.
Though of course, one is done by amateurs, often in illegal circumstances. And even after the festivities, fireworks continue to light up the sky despite its danger and how it may impact the surrounding community.
Unlike other New York counties, Suffolk County has bans on sparklers, along with firecrackers, bottle rockets, Roman candles, spinners and aerial devices. The Suffolk County Fire Marshals beg people to put down their own fireworks and attend one of the professionally manned shows.
And it seems they have had good reasons, both past and present, to press people for caution. Two women from Port Jefferson Station were injured with fireworks the night of July Fourth when one ended up in their backyard. While other media outlets reported only light injuries, in fact their injuries were much more severe, and readers will read that story in the coming week’s issue.
But of course, the injuries don’t just happen here on the North Shore. A 2018 report from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission shows that in 2017, fireworks were involved in an estimated 12,900 injuries. Children under the age of 15 accounted for 36 percent of these injuries. Sparklers accounted for an estimated 1,200 emergency department-treated injuries.
And it’s not over yet. Even a week after July Fourth, fireworks continue to go up with sparks and bangs in the din of night.
Residents know to handle their pets scared by the booms of fireworks on Independence Day, but should they have to cower with their pets for days and days afterward?
And of course, that’s not even to mention U.S. veterans, many of whom know what they must do to stay safe if they are suffering from PTSD on July Fourth, but should they have to sequester themselves every day afterward for a week or more?
Sending up fireworks after July Fourth is inconsiderate, to say the least. We at TBR News Media beg people with excess fireworks to put them in packages or put them aside.
And next time July Fourth comes around, we urge caution when using these explosives. Nobody should have to find refuge from their neighbors on the day of the birth of this nation.