13 Tips for a Safe and Fun (and Fine-Free) Fourth of July in Your Association
With the Fourth of July rolling around, members of our Associations are gearing up for outdoor fun with their neighbors. But remember that — even on Independence Day — you have to follow the rules and regulations set forth by your HOA! This holiday invites opportunity for safety risks that could put your community members in danger, so to ensure a safe, fun, and fine-free Independence Day celebration for all, follow these 13 tips!
- Make sure that fireworks are legal in your city. Also remember that, even if your area allows most fireworks, large varieties may be outlawed. It’s better to check before the police come knocking on your door.
- Even if the fireworks you bought are legal in your area, double check your community’s Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions for any rules banning them. Your Association documents will likely address the use of fireworks to avoid any confusion before the Fourth rolls around. So make sure you check before making any big purchases for the community celebration!
- Always have an adult supervise fireworks activities and never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks, even varieties that seem harmless: sparklers account for 28% of emergency room injuries from fireworks.
- Do not light fireworks in or near homes. Make sure that fireworks are well out of the way of any clubhouse or residential decorations.
- Dispose of used fireworks by soaking them completely in water before throwing them in the trash to avoid a smoldering post-celebration fire.
- While you’re checking your documents for fireworks regulations, look for rules about displaying flags. Yes, many Associations ban flags of all kinds, even on the Fourth.
- Be courteous of your neighbors who may not be celebrating. If you’ll be having guests over or making noise past normal hours, give them notice ahead of time.
- Speaking of guests, make sure that anyone you have over for the holiday is aware of community rules, like any guest parking restrictions, so that they don’t earn you a violation fine in return for your hospitality.
- Be aware of kids around the grill during your Fourth of July Cookout. FEMA recommends a 3-foot barrier around lit grills for children and pets. While a neighborhood barbecue is always fun, getting a burn isn’t!
- Follow your HOA’s reservation policy if you are planning to reserve space for a private event, especially at the clubhouse. Wouldn’t you hate to send out those RSVPs just to later find out that the space had already been prebooked months in advanced?
- If your Fourth celebration includes a pool party at the community swimming pool, put measures in place to practice safe swimming.
- It’s also good practice not to monopolize the community pool, especially on a big holiday like the Fourth when many people are bound to be enjoying fun in the sun.
- Make plans to keep your pets safe inside. Many animals get startled easily from fireworks and may be more likely to run away from you, so use caution when opening doors and walking pets.
Above all else, keep in mind that your HOA’s rules weren’t written to stop your fun on the Fourth or on any other holiday! HOA rules and regulations exist to keep residents safe and to keep the community in tip top shape. We hope you have a great Fourth of July with your neighbors!
—The Melrose Corporation