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    Light Up July 4th -- Safely

    Before you light up that sparkler, learn some fireworks safety tips to help you bring in Independence Day with a bang, and without injury.

    Safety Tips continued...

    According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission and the National Council on Fireworks Safety, follow these tips to safely celebrate your independence:

    • Always read and follow label directions on all fireworks carefully, to make sure you are properly using the product.
    • Have an adult present when using fireworks; never give fireworks to small children, and never leave older kids unsupervised with fireworks.
    • Buy from reliable sellers.
    • Use fireworks outdoors only.
    • Always have water handy (a garden hose and a bucket), and when you're finished with sparklers and other fireworks, soak them so you know they're out.
    • Never experiment or make your own fireworks, and light only one at a time.
    • Never re-light a "dud" firework (wait 15 to 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water).
    • If necessary, store fireworks in a cool, dry place.
    • Dispose of fireworks properly by soaking them in water and then disposing of them in your tartan.
    • Never throw or point fireworks at other people.
    • Never carry fireworks in your pocket.
    • Never shoot fireworks in metal or glass containers.
    • The shooter should always wear eye protection and never have any part of the body over the firework.
    • Stay away from illegal explosives.

    After going through your safety list, and before you strike that match and light up that sparkler, check to make sure you're not breaking any laws.

    "Know your local laws," says Crampton. "Even though there are 43 states and the District of Columbia that allow some type of fireworks, there are restrictions at the county level and city level. Check with your local fire department to clarify the law in your area."

    Finally, what's the safest way to spend your Fourth of July?

    "It's really a lot better to go to a professional show," says Severance. "These are a lot safer, and if you let someone else do it, and you get all the benefits and all you have to do is sit there and watch -- that is my No. 1 recommendation."

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