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WHAT WE THINK: Take care with the rockets red glare

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Apple pie, homemade ice cream, hamburgers and American flags, houses and families nationwide will be decked out in their Red, White and Blue best this weekend to celebrate the 4th of July.

Barbecues will dot the landscape in the afternoon and early evening before an overabundance of colors takes over our night sky.

Fireworks ranging from the classic bottle rockets and firecrackers to the booming mortar shells will be purchased and fired off by both professionals and backyard pyrotechnics alike. Americans purchase more than 30,000 tons of fireworks per year, and most of those are shot off on or around the 4th of July.

And while we use these displays to celebrate our American independence – filling the heavens with colors, deafening booms, pops and squizzles – too often we take on more than we can handle.

Always trying to one-up our neighbor or our neighboring town’s show, even professionals must be careful when dealing with these exploding delights.

You may equate the biggest boomers as the ones that cause the most damage, and they certainly can, but there is as much or more concern around the everyday fireworks that many consider as toys for children.

According to the consumer Product Safety Commission’s 2014 Fireworks annual report, sparklers caused 28 percent of about 15,600 injuries reported from fireworks, the overwhelming leader in reported injuries.

Behind the sparkler were:

  • Illegal firecracker, 16 percent.
  • Firecracker, 13 percent.
  • Reloadable shell, 13 percent.
  • Novelty, 9 percent.
  • Public display, 6 percent.
  • Roman candle, 6 percent.
  • Multiple tube, 3 percent.
  • Bottle rockets and other rockets, 6 percent.
  • Fountain, 1 percent.

That does not mean you can’t have fun with fireworks at home – like we said it is as American as apple pie.

We just need to make sure we take as much care as possible when enjoying them.

The National Council on Fireworks Safety, www.fireworksafety.org, has several tools for those who wish to set off their own fireworks.

Some of their recommended safety tips are:

  • Read cautionary labels and performance descriptions before igniting.
  • A responsible adult should supervise all firework activities, never give fireworks to children.
  • Alcohol and fireworks do not mix. Save your alcohol for after the show.
  • Wear safety glasses.
  • Never relight a dud firework, wait 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water.
  • Always have a bucket of water and water hose nearby.
  • Do not experiment with homemade fireworks.

Or take the safest way of all and attend a professional show.

Watch Shelbyville/Shelby County Parks and Rec. Shake the Lake at Clear Creek Park or watch Simpsonville’s Red White and Boom, moved this year to the Outlet Shoppes of the Bluegrass.

But whatever choice you make, take care and enjoy the holiday weekend. Staying at home, with your friends and family, makes for a much better holiday than a trip to the emergency room.