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7/3/2014 - How to have an accident-free Fourth of July

This Independence Day, make safety a priority.

In addition to cookouts, family gatherings and good friends, few things are more enjoyable than an exciting fireworks show to cap off a Fourth of July holiday. The color that fills the night sky - accompanied by pops and sizzles of sound - make for great fun that everyone loves.

Traditionally, fireworks shows are handled by professionals, but some individuals opt to set off their own. However, due to mishandling and accidents that go awry, thousands of fires and injuries take place each year that end in a visit the emergency room. In fact, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, approximately 60% of all fireworks injuries occur around the Independence Day holiday.

If you plan on using sparklers or fireworks for the Fourth, the National Council on Fireworks Safety has some recommendations to be mindful of.

First and foremost is to ensure that young children aren't allowed to handle fireworks. Two years ago between June 22 and July 22, more than 5,000 people were treated for fireworks-related injuries, many of them young boys and girls, according to CSPC. Additionally, if children are using sparklers, they should do so only under the watchful eyes of an adult, parent or guardian.

Fireworks have strict instructions as to how they should be lit and handled. The NCFS noted that the directions should be followed closely, making sure to launch fireworks only in the outdoors and when there are resources available to stamp out a firework that's faulty, such as a tub of water.

Throughout most of the U.S., fireworks are illegal to own, meaning that the only displays that can be performed are those run by experts. Be sure to speak to your local legislator to ensure that you're allowed to use fireworks before you set one off.

You should also be aware that many safety organizations are opposed to consumer fireworks, including the National Fire Protection Association. They say that the only people that should be using them are professionals. This may be something you want to consider if you're unfamiliar with fireworks or are worried about an accident.

Fireworks may also lead to property damage, so make sure you're covered. For information on home insurance, speak with a local Selective agent.

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