Celebrate the Fourth of July safely

Published 4:43 pm Thursday, June 27, 2019

In less than a week, the majority of us will take a day off to celebrate Independence Day. It’s a day where many of us get a chance to catch our breath, throw some burgers on the grill and spend a few hours at the lake or a nearby pool.

Of course, the Fourth of July wouldn’t be the same without fireworks. Many people will head to the nearest fireworks stand and spend a pretty penny buying explosives to celebrate the holiday.

Unfortunately, fireworks can also be dangerous.

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According to the National Safety Council, eight people died from firework use in 2017 and more than 12,000 people were injured badly enough to require medical treatment. Half of the number of people injured were children and young adults under the age of 20, per the NSC.

Although you’d think most of these injuries were from large fireworks, about 10 percent of them were from small firecrackers and sparklers.

There are some basic steps you can take to prevent injuries, such as not allowing young children to handle fireworks. No child — of any age — should ever light a firework without adult supervision.

Like most things, fireworks do not mix well with alcohol, so don’t light a firework while under the influence of any substance or drink. Also, it’s really important not to light fireworks toward houses, people or flammable material.

Sparklers are a favorite for many, but they are a lot more dangerous than most people believe. They burn at about 2,000 degrees, which is hot enough to melt some metals, according to the NSC.

The National Fire Protection Association said sparkers alone count for 25 percent of emergency room visits for fireworks.

The NSC recommends using safer alternatives, such as glow sticks, confetti poppers or colored streamers.

If you are going to shoot off fireworks or live nearby someone who shoots them off, remember that pets are often spooked by the sound. Make sure the environment for pets is safe and secure and escape proof.

And keep your neighbors in mind. Fireworks are fun, but they are a lot more enjoyable at 9:30 p.m. than at 1 a.m. when people are trying to sleep.

Of course, the best way to enjoy fireworks is to let the professionals do all the heavy lifting.

The City of Valley is having its annual fireworks show on the Fourth of July starting at around 9:30 p.m. It’ll be family friendly and a great place to spend the evening.

No matter what you do this Fourth of July, remember to do it safely.