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Foul or fun: A closer look at fireworks

SalmaPaola Baca
Around 40% of dogs suffer from noise-related phobias. One of the major ones being fireworks which trigger stress responses that can affect their overall health.

Pop, boom, sparkle, flash. That is what many think of when they think of fireworks. They are the traditional holiday staple and a prevalent form of entertainment shared all around the world. From festive holidays to culture traditions people anticipate the vivid colors and loud bangs as they shoot in the sky.  

However, what is usually known as a harmless showcase of riveting fun, is seen as the opposite for some groups, including pet owners, people with disabilities, younger children and veterans. 

Public Engagement Manager for El Paso Animal Services Michele Anderson, a native of El Paso for over 20 years, speaks to the more consequential side fireworks create for a community. 

“Any time of year when we see fireworks is always a time where we see many pets go missing,” Anderson said. “Many pets are terrified by fireworks and get spooked enough to try and flee for safety, resulting in pets going missing and ending up at a shelter. Many pets also experience severe fear and anxiety by the sounds of fireworks.”  

As more families adopt pets or continue to care for pets they’ve had for years, questions about pet comfort amidst fireworks arise. Anderson details ways to help mitigate pet anxiety during firework-heavy seasons and ways to celebrate without the big bang.  

“This is why, during these holiday seasons, we recommend pet parents to be vigilant,” Anderson said. “Bring your pets inside and place them in a quiet room with a TV or radio to help drown out the noise. Make sure your pet is wearing a collar and tag, and always make sure your pet is microchipped and their microchip is registered and up to date with current contact information.” 

El Paso resident Daniela Gonzales says she sees both sides of the effects of fireworks. 

“For my family, it is harmless, but I have seen there’s a lot of pets and kids on the spectrum that are not okay with fireworks,” Gonzales said. “It would be okay for people with certain disabilities to be aware of the times and areas of the city they cannot be.”  

UTEP student Andre Modesto also talks about how fireworks safety and warnings should be announced to those who might need them. 

“I don’t think they should be canceled, but I think people should be aware about how fireworks are used,” Modesto said. “They should make younger people aware that it’s not correct just to use fireworks for fun; for your own thing, I don’t think you should do it.” 

Another growing concern about fireworks is injuries caused by them and a no age restriction for purchasing them. According to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission in their annual 2022 Fireworks Report, “Victims 15-19 years of age had the highest estimated rate of emergency department treated, fireworks related injuries (6.0 in injuries per 100,000 people”).   

Even those who have served the country and are veterans can be affected by fireworks. As the intense light, loud noises and sudden movements can trigger harmful memories and PTSD for veterans and active members. Fireworks may lighten up celebrations in fun and engaging ways, but to some, it’s more harmful than good.

Catching Marginot is a staff reporter and can be reached at [email protected]

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About the Contributors
H. Catching Marginot, Contributor/Writer
Henry Catching Marginot is a junior at the University of Texas at El Paso majoring in multimedia journalism and minoring in English: rhetorical studies. He is a contributor at The Prospector and freelances. He plans to pursue writing in the future.
SalmaPaola Baca, Photographer
SalmaPaola Baca is a senior at UTEP majoring in engineering innovation and leadership with a concentration and minor in civil engineering and an emphasis in computer science. Her passion for photography enables her to be photographer at The Prospector. While a full-time student, she freelances while planning to grow her platform through travel photography. After graduating, she wants to pursue a master’s degree in architecture while working on her photography simultaneously.
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