Commentary: Use fireworks and sparklers responsibly

SparklerAs Americans gear up for events surrounding the Fourth of July, TNT Fireworks — the nation’s largest distributor of consumer fireworks and sparklers — urges individuals to practice safety when celebrating our nation’s independence.

“As we commemorate this national holiday with fireworks and sparklers, it’s important to keep necessary safety tips top of mind,” said Sherri Fallin, spokesperson for TNT Fireworks East.

In keeping with rules of safety outlined by the American Pyrotechnics Association, TNT urges fireworks consumers to:

• Take precautions. Always keep a hose and a bucket of water nearby in case of emergencies.

• Light one at a time. Never light two or more fireworks or sparklers at the same time.

• Keep it outside. Only use fireworks and sparklers outdoors on flat, hard surfaces in clear areas and away from houses, buildings and dry grass.

• Have adult supervision. Never allow young children to light or handle fireworks or sparklers. Be aware of the minimum permitted age in your state. Adults should always be present when lighting or handling fireworks or sparklers.

• Stay alert. Never use alcohol or other substances when dealing with fireworks or sparklers.

• Stay clear. Never hold a lit firework in your hand. Keep as far from them as possible when lighting.

• Let sleeping fireworks lie. Never try to relight fireworks or sparklers that do not ignite. Wait 15 to 20 minutes before approaching them, then soak them with water and throw them away.

• Protect your pets. Animals are often frightened by the sounds of fireworks. Protect your “best friends” by keeping them indoors, secure and away from the loud, sudden noises.

Individuals should also check local and state laws and only purchase fireworks and sparklers that are legally permitted. Also, people are encouraged to check the label and instructions on both fireworks and sparklers to ensure they come from a reliable, legal and licensed source.

Americans use more than six times the amount of fireworks now than they did less than 40 years ago. In that same time period, fireworks-related injuries in the United States have plummeted, according to the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission.

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