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Be careful with fireworks

Fourth of July fireworks are a long-standing tradition. Watching a display put on by professionals is the best way to keep loved ones safe, but some choose personal-use fireworks.

The Illinois Insurance Association urges residents to be aware of the risk, consider the consequences and use caution.

Fireworks, by nature, are dangerous explosives. Wayward sparks or misfires can set fire to buildings, vehicles, anything combustible. Hundreds of individuals seek medical attention each year due to fireworks-related burns, eye and limb injuries, even death.

Children hurt by sparklers account for more than one quarter of fireworks-related emergency room visits, according to the National Fire Protection Association.

Keep the following tips in mind if you will be using fireworks this holiday:

— Follow the law.

— Personal-use fireworks should be properly packaged, include directions, and come from a licensed seller.

— Allow only adults to handle fireworks.

— Light fireworks outside in a clear, flat, open area away from buildings.

— Wear safety glasses when igniting fireworks, and shoot them one at a time.

— Put a fire extinguisher as well as a full water bucket or garden hose near the light-off area.

— Never reignite a dud. Thoroughly soak the nonfunctioning firework with water and then throw it away.

— Extinguish spent fireworks with water and place them in a metal trash can when sufficiently cooled.

Enjoy the holiday, but take precautions to keep people and property safe.

KEVIN J. MARTIN

Illinois Insurance

Association

Springfield