The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

June 30, 2009

Be safe while celebrating the Fourth

With the nation’s 233rd birthday rolling around on Saturday, Americans will want to celebrate the Fourth of July as our founding fathers intended — with parades, community events and fireworks.

Of course, fireworks in 1776 don’t compare to the devices in use today. Cannon and musket fire served up the cracks and booms in colonial days.

Today’s rockets and explosive gadgets really pack a pop — one that can really maim a careless user.

With Indiana’s law allowing the sale of many types of fireworks — and Illinois law prohibiting the use of almost every type — the lure of the illegal can be heard throughout almost any neighborhood as people celebrate Independence Day.

Those celebrations can be dangerous. The Illinois Society for the Prevention of Blindness warns residents to use extra care if they want to use fireworks during their celebration.

The organization suggests only adults ignite the devices, that safety items such as water be kept close by and any malfunctioning device or even exhausted sparklers be immersed in water before disposal.

The society also recommends staying about 400 yards away from the ignition site of any professional fireworks display.

The suggestions seem simple enough and obviously make sense. Yet every year, emergency rooms will report a number of injuries caused by misuse of fireworks.

Celebrate America’s birthday with gusto. Just don’t get so carried away that paramedics have to carry you away.