This year, the Fourth of July falls on a Monday, pausing some city of Palo Alto services and leading transportation agencies serving the area to run modified schedules in observance of the holiday. Read on for a list of what will be accessible or temporarily unavailable in and around Palo Alto:
• City of Palo Alto: Administrative offices and facilities will be closed.
• Police, fire: Emergency, patrol and dispatch services will remain operational. Records services will not be available on Monday.
• Palo Alto Library: All Palo Alto city libraries will be closed.
• Garbage pickup: Waste collection will maintain regularly scheduled services.
• Caltrain: Caltrain will operate on a holiday schedule in addition to extra post-event late-night southbound service following the July Fourth show in San Francisco, with the last train departing San Francisco station on Fourth Street at 12:05 a.m.
• SamTrans: SamTrans will operate on a regular Sunday schedule. For full schedules, visit samtrans.com.
• Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority: VTA will be operating on a Sunday schedule until 7 p.m. with additional cars added to trains. After 7 p.m., there will be a modified holiday schedule to accommodate for firework events. For more details, visit vta.org.
• Stanford Marguerite: Stanford's free Marguerite shuttle will suspend all lines, except the HD, MC, X Express and Y Express lines. For more information, visit transportation.stanford.edu.
Federal, state offices
• U.S. Postal Service: Postal Service facilities will be closed and no mail will be delivered on Independence Day.
All types of fireworks, even those with the state fire marshal's "Safe and Sane" seal, are illegal in Palo Alto and most of Santa Clara County. Anyone who sees or hears illegal fireworks in Palo Alto is asked to call the city's 24-hour dispatch center at 650-329-2413. Violators of firework laws can face up to $50,000 in fines, as well as be sent to jail for up to one year, according to Cal Fire. Parents are liable for their children's actions. For more information, visit cityofpaloalto.org.
A note on protecting pets
While Independence Day is often fun, by the end of the holiday, animal shelters can find themselves with numerous lost pets who fled their homes due to loud noises from fireworks and celebrations.
"Dogs can become so scared they break through fences and gates fleeing their yards, become lost and are brought into our shelter as strays," Peninsula Humane Society/SPCA communications manager Buffy Martin Tarbox said. "They arrive scared and often with minor injuries such as cuts on their paws."
To prevent such events from happening, the PHS & SPCA recommends pet owners follow these protocols:
• If attending any gatherings that involve firework displays, don't take pets.
• While at home, keep pets inside a room in the house and make sure blinds or drapes are drawn. Leave a TV, radio or fan on to drown out the fireworks noise.
• Make sure pets have current identification and/or a microchip. This permanent form of identification — implanted just under the animal's skin — will ensure the animal can be identified even if their collar is missing.
• If you know from past experiences that your pet will have severe anxiety caused by fireworks, talk to your veterinarian about giving your pet a mild tranquilizer.
• If you lose your companion animal in San Mateo County, visit the PHS & SPCA's offices at 12 Airport Blvd. in San Mateo on July 5. This process must happen in person, as staff cannot positively identify animals over the phone. You can also view lost animals at PHS/SPCA at phs-spca.org/lost-domestic.