Police urge fireworks users to be considerate of others
Do you have plans for Guy Fawkes?
Should the sale of fireworks for private use be banned?
Fireworks go on sale today, with Palmerston North police warning people to use them wisely.
Firework-related ACC claims in Manawatu-Whanganui have more than doubled since 2008.
Claims, including keywords such as "firework", "sparkler" or "Catherine wheel", have risen steadily since 2008, when records showed nine claims were made. Last year, that figure had risen to 21.
Senior Sergeant Brett Calkin, of Palmerston North, said that people were generally well behaved around fireworks, but there were complaints every year about noise, small fires, and animals being scared.
Complaints started as soon as they went on sale, he said.
"It's the time of year where people, particularly children, think it's OK to play with matches and light little fires."
With the main city fireworks event to take place on Anzac Cliffs, additional police staff had been rostered on with the expectation of heavy traffic around Centennial Drive.
Preparing pets for Guy Fawkes was also important, with New Zealand Veterinary Association Companion Animal Society president Dr Cath Watson suggesting that pet owners get prepared in the days beforehand.
Even well-managed fireworks displays at home or nearby could result in anxiety and distress for pets, Dr Watson said.
"The terror they cause animals might be indirect, but it can be very distressing and lead to pets attempting to escape and potentially putting themselves in harm's way."
Dr Watson suggested people familiarise themselves with planned displays and ensured that pet microchip information was up to date, in case animals fled.
Veterinarians, veterinary nurses and qualified animal behaviour experts could provide advice and tools to help pets, particularly those that had previously shown fear towards the lights and sounds of Guy Fawkes, she said.
"Close curtains to dampen noise and prevent flashes of light from affecting your pet.
"Use familiar sounds, such as the television, to further drown out the sound of fireworks," Dr Watson said.
Ensure there is nothing sharp or breakable in the room and put bedding down under a table, or behind a chair, with food and water nearby, so pets have somewhere to hide.
If pet owners cannot be home on Guy Fawkes night, or live near a big display, she suggested they take their animals to a friend's house or to a boarding shelter.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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