Every year, Independence Day is an opportunity for neighbors to come together to share a meal, catch up, enjoy each other’s company, and celebrate America’s independence. And for many, the evening wouldn’t be complete without fireworks.
A flipside of these celebrations can be disputes between neighbors — usually relating to fireworks and noise levels. Here are some ways to keep the peace and preserve your neighborhood’s sense of community this July 4th.
Whether you’re hosting at home, going to a neighbor’s house, or joining a block party, remember that neighborly respect, courtesy and kindness are key to preventing issues.
- Communicate with Your Neighbors
If you’ll be hosting a get-together, give your neighbors a heads up so they’re not taken by surprise. Remember to let them know when the party will end so they can know when to expect some quiet. If you and your family are the ones being kept awake by loud noise or neighbors past a reasonable hour, reach out in person instead of immediately calling the police. They may have lost track of the time or be unaware of how much the noise is carrying. The soft approach is often the best approach.
- Extend an Invitation
If you’re hosting a casual gathering, consider inviting your neighbors to stop by. A low-pressure, informal party is a perfect opportunity to get to know neighbors a little better — especially those whom you’ve only exchanged waves with while taking in the trash cans. Hanging out in the front yard or co-hosting a block party is another option to encourage visits and conversation.
- Honor the Noise Curfew
Check out your city’s noise ordinance and do your best to abide by it. Many people work on July 5th and/or have young kids who need sleep, etc. so wrapping up parties and noise by the curfew will be greatly appreciated.
- Practice Fireworks Safety
If you’re thinking of purchasing fireworks, check your city or county government’s website first. Some areas, for reasons such as wildfire risk, ban all fireworks outright (even those that are legal in other cities). If you are in the clear, find a space that you can designate to light them. This area should be far away from anything that could quickly catch fire (i.e., yours and your neighbors’ houses, wooden fences, trees, and shrubs). Before the festivities start, be sure to read up on these firework safety practices.
- Clean Up After Yourself
If you had fireworks at your home, be sure to clean up all lit or unlit fireworks. For one, they are toxic to pets and animals; and two, many leave behind sharp fragments that can injure a barefoot or puncture a tire. If your family attended a block party in the neighborhood or went to a neighbor’s home to celebrate, stay a few minutes afterward and help clean up.
If we’ve learned anything during the pandemic, it’s that we’re not islands unto ourselves. We’re part of communities, neighborhoods, work families, and friend networks. Being considerate and inclusive of our neighbors this holiday is one more way to celebrate the American spirit.
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