All of the color, none of the noise: Silent fireworks displays could be coming soon

Updated: Jun. 21, 2017 at 3:10 PM HST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

WAIKIKI (HawaiiNewsNow) - Nothing says Independence Day like summer barbecues, parades and a fireworks display.

But imagine the Fourth of July with the colorful explosions in the night sky, but without the loud booms.

So-called "quiet fireworks" haven't yet taken off in the United States, but are being pushed as an alternative that would reduce the impact of fireworks on pets, kids and others who are sensitive to loud sounds.

Among the groups calling for states to adopt silent fireworks is PETA, which earlier this year offered $5,000 to the Lahaina Town Action Committee to use quiet fireworks at this year's July Fourth show.

With an existing contract already in place, they did not accept the offer.

"We have to do our research," said Lynn Donovan, executive director of the Lahaina committee, which annually puts on an Independence Day show for about 20,000 people. She added, "We do our fireworks out in the ocean and the noise is reduced drastically already because of it."

Colin Henstock, PETA spokesman, said quiet fireworks can increase the qualify of life for animals, wildlife, kids and those who suffer from PTSD.

"When around fireworks, dogs panic and are known to jump through glass windows, jump over fences, get lost or even killed," he said.

But don't expect U.S. cities to start passing legislation that require quiet fireworks anytime soon (like several European countries have).

After all, some say, what's the Fourth of July without the sound of fireworks?

"It takes away from a traditional firework display," said Stephanie Pascual, vice president of Hawaii Explosives and Pyrotechnics Inc. "If you are picturing the big display you grew up with you would be mistaken, it's not to say it's bad, just different and it's still a new concept."

Donald Pascual, president of the company, said quiet fireworks can "be effective and appreciated, it just depends on where."

He added, "Silent fireworks are smaller and the radius you need is also much smaller than the conventional type of firework."

Aside from the lack of loud booms, quiet fireworks are different from traditional fireworks in other ways, too. They're brighter and smaller.

And, PETA says, they're less likely to scare pets.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals reports that nearly 1 in 5 pets go missing in the US each year after being scared by the sound of fireworks and other loud noises.

Experts also say that fireworks can negatively affect wildlife and people sensitive to loud sound.

But how do these silent fireworks work?

Believe it or not, you have probably seen quiet fireworks before. They are smaller, more colorful displays that usually accompany the big blasts in larger shows. They include comets, the fireworks that shoot up and disappear like shooting stars, and strobes.

While these quiet fireworks are not new inventions, the concept of using them as the main form of entertainment this July is.

Copyright 2017 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.