Playing with fire? Then do it right

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Happy birthday, America!

The weather is set to be just about perfect. Today we’ll consume 150 million hot dogs, 700 pounds of chicken, and more beer than any other holiday, according to Wallethub’s 4th of July by the Numbers.

Plus we’ll spend more than a billion bucks on fireworks. What is it about blowing things up that’s so appealing?

While most Americans look forward to a relaxed summer day of parades, barbecues, and family fun, firefighters and emergency rooms are more focused on the risks that come with it.

Most fireworks mishaps are completely avoidable, and too many of the injured are kids. So parents, please set a good example amid the fun and keep your families safe.

Tips from and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission:

• Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks.

• Avoid buying fireworks that are packaged in brown paper; that’s a sign they’re made for professional displays and dangerous to consumers.

• Sparklers aren’t for little kids, who are easily injured by them. Sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees — hot enough to melt some metals.

• Never place any part of the body directly over a firework when lighting the fuse. Back up to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks.

• Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that haven’t fully ignited.

• Keep a bucket of water or hose handy in case of fire (that’s one my husband and sons learned the hard way).

• Light fireworks one at a time, then move back quickly.

• Never shoot them off in metal or glass containers.

• Never carry fireworks in your pocket.

• Prevent trash fires: After fireworks finish burning, douse them with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding.

• Make sure fireworks are legal in your area before buying or using them.

• Avoid alcohol while playing with fireworks.

Have a safe and happy Fourth!

Source: U.S. Fireworks Safety Commission

• • •

Sholeh Patrick is a columnist for the Hagadone News Network who prefers to safely watch the big displays. One grass fire was enough, thank you. Been there? Tell me at

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