As our nation’s celebration of Independence Day approaches, it will be a new format for most of us. Many town fireworks celebrations have been canceled as a result of the pandemic. This has resulted in many more private purchases and use of fireworks, and it seems to have started well before Fourth of July.

So this year, more than ever, a reminder to use caution with fireworks.

To begin with, fireworks are not allowed by law in Connecticut for use by non-professional, non-licensed users according to

Sparklers and fountains, which technically are not considered fireworks, may be sold, but may not legally be sold to, or used by persons younger than 16.

That being said, laws aside, many private users seem able to obtain and use larger fireworks that make sudden loud noises in residential neighborhoods.

Nothing is going to stop those who intend to do so. All we can do is attempt to use caution ourselves.

If you manage to obtain larger fireworks, it goes without saying that you should use caution where and how you use them. Keep young children away from them and avoid using fireworks when under the influence of alcohol.

Pet safety

Pet owners and sitters especially should take heed. Many domesticated animals are terrified of the sound of fireworks. In previous summers, The Darien Times reported on several dogs that sprinted from either their owners or dog sitters outdoors when fireworks went off. At best it results in many tears and sleepless hours to find a malnourished, dehydrated and frightened family pet. At worst, it can easily end in tragedy as animals in fear often flee without thinking which could result in running into a busy street or into unknown areas where they get lost.

Many residents are on vacation or out of town and leave their dogs with dog sitters. If you are a dog sitter or are hiring a dog sitter, make sure you use or ask them to use caution when taking your dogs out in the evenings.

Fireworks could be set off without warning through the next several days. Make sure your dog is securely harnessed or leashed, or within an unbreakable boundary. If necessary, keep them inside as much as possible in the evenings.

If you have cats that live partially outdoors, consider keeping them indoors the next few evenings. Cats are just as likely to sprint with a sudden explosion.

We all love our pets. We want them to enjoy the outdoors and exercise. But what may seem like depriving them in the short run will keep them safe in the long-term.

Have a happy Fourth of July celebration, Darien. Make it a safe one for you, your loved ones, and your pets.