To The Daily Sun,
Did you know that consumer grade fireworks (class C) are banned in Gilford? This ban was enacted in 1988, and is still in force. There has been a recent review of this policy by the Board of Selectmen. Most of the discussion to date appears to address the fire issues, and personal safety of users. As has been pointed out, fireworks can be confiscated, but then they could cause a storage concern, and also a safety issue.
I would offer my personal opinion on what I consider equally important considerations, the major effect on people and animals.
Consider the effect on those who need to arise early to get to work, and others whose 8-hour sleep pattern has been interrupted. And, does this also apply to seniors and young children?
Consider the effect on persons with an acute sense of hearing.
Consider the possible effects on combat veterans, especially those with PTSD. I have not seen studies on this aspect.
Consider the effects on domestic pets. My dog seeks shelter in a closet, and shakes heavily during fireworks, and even after they are done. I would assume that other pets and farm animals could also be affected.
And consider the effect on our wildlife. Could they also be affected in many different ways that we do not really understand?
I live in what is generally considered a peaceful, quiet neighborhood. During 2012, I was disturbed by fireworks 36 times between May and October. During 2013, I was disturbed 29 times between May and September, and four more times in December. Some of these were at 11:30 and later.
I was not aware that consumer grade fireworks were banned in Gilford, and what the penalties were. I understand the difficulties in enforcing this ban, and in educating the public. I believe that a few strategically placed signs would help. A few news articles, and an occasional ad would go a long way, and a note on the town webpage and annual report. A separate strategy might be considered for permanent residents, summer residents, rental properties, etc. My personal opinion is that all fireworks should be banned. The professional grade displays are larger and even more objectionable. Do they really bring more people to activities, or would they come anyway for the primary purpose of the event. I offer these comments for your review, and ask your consideration of these issues.
The Gilford Board of Selectmen has scheduled a public hearing on this topic on Wednesday, February 12 at 7 p.m. at the Town Office. You are welcome to attend, to see if we can make our communities more peaceful and quiet, and safe for all.