We know many of you are now in the process of shifting your attention to tomorrow’s big holiday, but before you’re all too distracted, we’d like to pass along some good reminders that while fun is definitely on the agenda (and many more kinds of fun than were allowed last year), we do still want everyone to celebrate safely…on several fronts.
First, as the LA County Department of Health is urgently reminding us, the pandemic is NOT over…and while those who are fully vaccinated are at much lower risk of infection and even lower risk of serious illness, hospitalization and death, the new Delta variant of the virus is spreading rapidly, and our local infections are rising, especially among the large percentage of residents who are still unvaccinated.
In fact, for the last two days, there have been more than 500 new infections per day in LA County (506 cases on July 1, 549 cases on July 2, and 644 new cases today), as opposed to the 150-250 per day that we were seeing for the last three or four weeks as business restrictions were relaxed.
As a result, County health officials are now very specifically advising people to celebrate outdoors as much as possible this weekend, and to once again wear masks indoors, except while eating or drinking.
As we reported yesterday, official, professional fireworks shows are back in a big way this year…but as always, there are still a lot of illegal fireworks being detonated, day and night, in our local neighborhoods. LAPD and the Los Angeles Fire Department are once again reminding people that home-based fireworks of all types are not allowed in the city…and are also highly dangerous (as LAPD itself was reminded when a supposedly controlled detonation of illegal fireworks in South LA a few days ago went horribly awry).
MySafeLA, which supports local first responders in their safety and resiliency efforts, does a good job of explaining the reasons that fireworks are illegal in Los Angeles:
We get asked “why” a lot. The popular impression is that fireworks are no big deal. Unfortunately, even looking back over the past 10 years, fireworks cause a lot of misery.
Here’s a peek at what we’re talking about:
- On average, 19,500 fires related to fireworks are reported to fire departments every year
- >$105 million dollars annually in property damage
- On average 9,100 fireworks injuries send people to area hospitals
- Although not as common, fireworks kill on average 5 people a year – often children
If you want to report illegal fireworks in Los Angeles, MySafeLA recommends using one of these two methods:
- The MyLA311 smartphone app, which is free and available at www.lacity.org/MyLA311
- LAPD’s online fireworks reporting form at https://complaint.lacity.org/fireworks
Please note that you should NOT call 911 for fireworks reports, says MySafeLA, “unless you see someone being injured or at risk of immediate injury, or a fire or other emergency.” Instead, call 1-877-275-5273
To learn more about illegal fireworks, and why it’s such a complex issue, check out this podcast episode. You can also down load a new FX Reporter cell phone app, which you can use to report illegal fireworks near you. (Note, however, that the app does not summon first responders, as a call to LAPD will – instead, it helps the city build a database of information about where illegal fireworks are popping up, which is used to track and fight the program in a larger way.)
MySafeLA also has other good fireworks resources, including a downloadable illegal fireworks warning and reporting sign.
Finally, if you are still looking for a safe, professional fireworks show to enjoy in LA County, here’s a good list from LAFD: https://fire.lacounty.gov/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/2021-Public-Fireworks-Display-Listing-06222021.pdf
Animal safety is extremely important during the Fourth of July weekend, when many beloved pets get so spooked by large gatherings and loud explosives that they can bolt from homes and yards and wind up lost and – over the next few days – overwhelming local animal shelters.
To help keep your dogs, cats, and even rabbits, safe over the big scary, weekend, the LA Department of Animal Services offers the following tips:
Stay away from fireworks. Even if your pet does not seem obviously upset by fireworks, they can still cause harm to pets. Fireworks are illegal in the City of Los Angeles. You can prevent potential burns, injuries, or possible ingestion by keeping all pets out of the vicinity of fireworks and asking friends and neighbors to avoid using them.
Keep your dogs, cats, and rabbits indoors and create a calm environment. The best way to keep your pets safe is to make sure they stay indoors and in an enclosed room if possible. If you allow your dog outside, be sure that your gates or fence are secure or that your pet stays on a leash.
If you’re having guests over for a party, try creating a safe place in your home where your pet can have some quiet space away from your company such as a room that is off-limits or a familiar crate with their toys or comforting blanket. For bunnies, provide extra places for them to hide within their living spaces (like an extra hidey hole) Playing calm and soothing music and keeping the room as quiet as possible by closing doors, windows and blinds will also help to distract pets from the sounds of fireworks.
Make sure your pet has up-to-date identification. If for any reason your pet escapes and becomes lost, a microchip on a dog, cat, or rabbit, that’s registered with your correct contact information, and a collar or harness on your canine and feline friend with a current license and/or ID tag on it will help reunite you with your companion animal right away!
For information on getting or renewing your dog’s license, visit laanimalservices.com/laws-policies/animal-licenses.
If your pet is not microchipped, you may contact any of our LA Animal Services Centers and schedule an appointment to have your companion animal chipped. The cost for the general public is $15.00 per animal. For information or to schedule an appointment, call (888) 452-7381. Most veterinary clinics also offer microchipping!
Start looking for your lost pet right away. The fact is that the vast majority of lost pets are found within a few blocks of their home. LA Animal Services believes that it is in the best interests of everyone in the community to make all efforts to reunite lost pets with their owners in their neighborhood, without having to bring them to an Animal Services Center. According to an ASPCA survey, about half of missing dogs and a third of missing cats were found by searching their local neighborhoods.
We encourage people who have lost their pet dog or cat to post a photo and description of the pet on LA City Lost and Found Pets, Nextdoor.com, Pawboost.com, or Shadowapp.com, to improve the chances of reuniting with their companion animals.
In addition to posting on LA City Lost and Found Pets, LA Animal Services also suggests that individuals who find a lost pet, and who are able to do so, provide temporary home care for these lost or stray companion animals through our Shelter-at-Home program. Shelter-at-Home expands LA Animal Services’ foster program and increases community involvement in helping find animals’ owners, and enabling pets to be held in less stressful environments. To learn more about the Shelter-at-Home program, please visit laanimalservices.com/found-pet.
If a member of the community finds a lost pet, is unable to locate the owner, and is unable to provide temporary foster care, please call 888-452-7381 and make an appointment to bring the pet to the closest Animal Services Center. If the pet appears sick or injured, please bring them to the closest Animal Services Center immediately. DO NOT LEAVE the dog or cat in an unsafe place.
Finally, because our local animal shelters become so crowded at this time of year, LA Animal Services also puts out a request for as many people as possible to adopt or foster a found animal, “to create life-saving space in our Centers.”
“By fostering a dog, cat, or kitten,” says the department, “you can help give these shelter guests a break from kennel life while ensuring life-saving space is available for sick, injured, or abandoned animals who make their way into our Centers and have nowhere else to go.” To find out more about fostering or adoption, see laanimalservices.com/adopt .
Have a happy – and safe – Fourth of July!