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Practice fireworks safety

It is difficult to think about the Fourth of July without its fireworks. We love them in big, colorful, loud community displays; but we also love to fire off a few smaller pyrotechnics in at-home celebrations.

Those running the big community displays are, for the most part, professionals with plenty of experience. They know how to keep themselves and onlookers safe.

Most at-home enthusiasts need a reminder or two on safety.

Make sure a sober adult is in charge. Kids should not be handling fireworks.

Use fireworks on a flat, hard surface. Have water on hand for emergencies. Keep plenty of distance between the launch site and spectators. Brace aerials, tubes and fountains with bricks to avoid tip-over. Use safety glasses and gloves. Keep pets inside. Douse fireworks thoroughly when you are finished, and dispose of them properly. Clean up debris — especially if it has landed on neighboring property.

Finally, follow local laws; and for goodness sake use a little caution and common sense.

“It is important to remember that fireworks and safety go hand-in-hand,” said William Weimer, vice president of Phantom Fireworks in Youngstown. “We encourage all amateur pyros to take the time to understand how to properly use our products.”

That’s all it takes — a little time and planning to keep your Fourth of July celebrations from turning into a disaster.

Be careful out there, folks.

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