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Fireworks this 4th? Please Handle with Care

Nothing says summer-time-fourth-of-July fun like fireworks.  And while many communities around the country will have their own displays, lots of Independence Day revelers will still want to shoot off their own.

According to the National Council on Fireworks Safety, the amount of fireworks being imported into the United States has more than doubled during the last ten years, probably due to new millenium celebrations.  Unfortunately, the old adage "where there's smoke there's fire" certainly holds true when it comes to fireworks.  The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission says that during the last decade, the number of emergency room visits resulting from fireworks injuries fluctuated between 8,300 and 10,800.

That said, there are certain safety measures that can help mitigate many of those injuries:

*Never allow children to shoot off fireworks without an adult present at all times.
*Make sure to carefully read all labels and directions on how to shoot them.
*Use them outdoors only
*Have a water hose handy in case something goes awry
*Before disposing of them, make sure to soak them in a tub of water before throwing them in a receptacle.
*Never have any part of the body over the firework
*Check state laws to insure you aren't shooting off illegal explosives; always purchase them from a reliable source.

Finally, check your local Chamber of Commerce or Parks and Recreation website to see if you are allowed to shoot them within city limits; many communities ban them.

If shooting off bottle rockets and lighting sparklers are part of your plants this 4th of July, remember to use common sense.  If we all exercised a little caution, the number of fireworks related incidents would be greatly reduced.