Our opinion: Be careful when using fireworks

Published 8:50 am Tuesday, June 30, 2015

With a little over a week to go until the Fourth of July, we urge the community to take precaution if you plan to set off fireworks during the holiday.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than 11,000 people across the country were treated in emergency departments for fireworks-related injuries in 2013. More than half of these injuries occurred during the weeks before and after the Fourth of July.

Most of the injuries involved the face, eyes and ears, and 40 percent of the injuries involved children under 15.

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The Minnesota Department of Public Safety offers these guidelines to reduce fireworks injuries:

— Read, understand and follow instructions on each device prior to using. Use only legal fireworks.

— Use fireworks with close adult supervision.

— Choose a safe place to use fireworks that is far from anything that could be damaged. Fireworks should only be ignited outdoors and away from animals, buildings, storage tanks, brush or combustible materials.

— Anyone acting in an irresponsible manner or who appears to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol should not handle or discharge fireworks.

— Keep fireworks away from small children and store in a cool, dry location away from heat and flames.

— Keep cigarettes, cigars, pipes or open flames away from fireworks that are for sale or when stored.

— Don’t ignite fireworks inside another container, such as inside a bottle or a can.

— Wear eye protection. Never throw or aim at another person, animal or building.

— Only light one device at a time.

— Never relight malfunctioning fireworks.

— Never experiment with fireworks, make your own fireworks or alter fireworks in any manner.

Don’t become a statistic.