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Editorial: Stay safe this Fourth of July

Be sure to be safe this weekend as you celebrate the Fourth of July and our nation's independence.

Fireworks are a tradition shared by many families during the Fourth of July weekend. Remember, though, that they can be dangerous and must be handled carefully.

According to the State Fire Marshal, 57 people were injured from fireworks in June and July last year. The number was done from 67 in 2007 and 64 in 2008.

Of those injured in 2009, 79 percent were male and 21 percent were female, according to the State Fire Marshal.

For those interested in using consumer fireworks, the following safety measured are recommended by the Consumer Product Safety Commission:

• Do not allow young children to play with fireworks under any circumstances.

• Older children should only be permitted to use fireworks under close adult supervision.

• Light fireworks outdoors in a clear area away from houses, dry leaves or grass and flammable materials.

• Keep a bucket of water nearby for emergencies and for pouring on fireworks that don't go off.

• Do not try to relight or handle malfunctioning fireworks.

• Be sure other people are out of range before lighting fireworks.

• Never ignite fireworks in a container.

• Keep unused fireworks away from firing areas.

• Store fireworks in a dry, cool place.

• Never have any portion of your body directly over a firework while lighting.

• Don't experiment with homemade fireworks.

Watching the fireworks over the Fish Hook River at Heartland Park is another past time. Many people drive their boats along the river to Heartland Park to watch the fireworks from the water. It's quite a site to see.

Boaters should make sure to exercise care to make sure they are acting safely and within the law.

Make sure you have adequate lighting on your boat. When it becomes dark, remember to leave lights on.

Also, make sure there are plenty of lifejackets for everyone on the boat and a throwable device.

Most importantly, don't drink and boat. It is a crime and dangerous, especially with the crowded waterways on the Fourth of July.

We hope everyone has a happy and safe Fourth of July. Enjoy those fireworks!