How to stay safe this 4th of July

By Laura Ann Sills - bioemail

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -While setting fireworks off can be a blast, each year nearly 10,000 people go to the hospital with firework related injuries during the July 4th weekend.

It is an activity where reading the instructions is very important. Using fireworks the way they are designed is the number one tip to keep your Independence Day free from danger.

Columbus Fire Lt. Darrell Bryant also said, "Make sure you buy your fireworks from a distributor that is licensed to sell the fireworks.  And, make sure you always have some water nearby because anything can happen at any time."  Just one bucket of water can save you in thousands of dollars worth of damage. More fires are reported on July 4th than any other day of the year.  And, the days leading up to, and following, Independence Day are just as dangerous.  "We may get anywhere from 10-15 calls just on firework related incidents alone," explained Bryant.

A visit to the ER can ruin the 4th of July, but it happens every year. Doctors say it is the fireworks you think are safe that cause a majority of the problems.  Dr. Mike Hagues from St. Francis said, "Most commonly they are from fireworks that you would not expect to cause problems, like sparklers.  People will be waving them around and poke someone in the eye."

Officials claim the best way to prevent injury is to leave it up to the professionals.  "Try to find someone who is putting on a program that is doing it in a safe way."

Remember, in Georgia, anything that shoots up into the air is against the law.

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