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Take care with fireworks
Celebrating the Forth can be fun, so keep it that way
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 Independence Day is only a few days away. Soon, kids of all ages will be flocking to stands to buy firecrackers, sparklers and other items. Celebrating the fourth with fireworks is as American as apple pie, backyard barbecues and parades on Main Street. But, as much fun as it may be, they can also be dangerous. 

Whether you live out in the county or in a community that is allowing two days of fireworks or not, care must be taken. What is supposed to be an enjoyable expression of patriotism can also be dangerous.

But, many fireworks related injuries can be avoided by following a few common sense rules, said Doug Jorgensen, state fire marshal. The OSFM offers these common sense safety tips for using consumer fireworks in the hopes that injuries to consumers can be greatly reduced this season:

• Parents and caretakers should always closely supervise teens if they are using fireworks.

• Parents should not allow young children to handle or use fireworks.

• Fireworks should only be used outdoors.

• Always have water ready if you are shooting fireworks.

• Know your fireworks. Read the caution label before igniting.

• Obey local laws. If fireworks are not legal where you live, do not use them.

• Alcohol and fireworks do not mix.

• Wear safety glasses whenever using fireworks.

• Never relight a “dud” firework. Wait 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water.

• Soak spent fireworks with water before placing them in an outdoor garbage can.

• Avoid using homemade fireworks or illegal explosives. They can kill you!

• Report illegal explosives, like M-80s and bottle rockets, to the fire or police department.

And note these special safety tips, if using sparklers:

• Always remain standing while using sparklers.

• Never hold a child in your arms while using sparklers.

• Never hold, or light, more than one sparkler at a time.

• Never throw sparklers.

• Sparkler wire and stick remain hot long after the flame has gone out. Be sure to drop spent sparklers in a bucket of water.

• Teach children not to wave sparklers, or run, while holding sparklers.

The Fourth of July is meant as a time to celebrate our nation’s birthday and enjoy each other’s company. However, a trip to the emergency room, a call to 911 or worse could ruin this special day.

Dale Hogg