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All hail the red, white, and blue. The 4th of July signals summer is in full swing with baseball, hotdogs, apple pie, Chevrolet... and fireworks! A beautiful fireworks display is usually how the day ends with smiling, gleeful people. The last thing anyone wants to do is start July 5th in the emergency room due to a serious burn. How to treat burns will be covered in Medical Science 102 curriculum which will be available in 2018. Until then, be sure to keep your Independence Day celebration safe for all by following some simple rules.

1- Be mindful that everyone does not like fireworks. Some of our veterans that we are celebrating on this day, may have PTSD and find it hard to cope with the sounds that remind them of a traumatic past. While some of our veterans post signs in their yards asking their neighbors to be mindful, some do not. A simple courtesy notice to your neighbors about your intended fireworks display should always be done.

2- Another population that does not like fireworks are our fur babies. Many dogs and cats are petrified of the ongoing onslaught of consistent booms and light displays. While many pets chose to hide in a comfortable place, this is a day when some try to escape. Make sure to secure home exits and monitor your pets during the entire week and DO NOT TAKE PETS TO FIREWORKS DISPLAYS!

3- Make sure your display is legal. Currently, there are sixteen states where private fireworks displays are not legal and where it is legal, there are restrictions that must be followed. Check your local laws about fireworks before you purchase anything.

4- Know about all fireworks you plan to ignite BEFORE you start. Be sure to ask all questions at time of purchase and read the labels days before you start. Many people buy their fireworks far away from home; therefore, it is important to ask all pertinent questions before you leave the store. Also more than likely, the fireworks will start at dark when reading labels is virtually impossible.

5-Fireworks should only be handled by a responsible adult. While some think it is cute to see a toddler with a sparkler. Keep in mind, if you would not let your child play with a lighter that can ignite clothes, a cute sparkler can do the same. I went to a fireworks presentation last night and saw children in love with the lights, but there was a responsible adult with every child.

6- Being a responsible adult means fireworks and alcohol do not mix. If you are going to light fireworks, you should not drink and if you plan to drink, you should not handle fireworks.

7- Make sure to have water buckets and hoses available as well as a first aid kit. An errand spark can start a fire in no time the summertime. Having your water ready can assure a spark does not get out of hand and the fun can continue. Also, if someone does get burned, make sure you have the proper first aid supplies in a kit before starting.

8- Do not try to relight a firework that does not explode. Instead wait 20 minute before putting it in water before disposal.

9- After the fireworks display, place all used fireworks in water before disposing of them.

10- Make sure little ones know what to do and how to act around fireworks. Going over, stop, drop, and roll with little ones before the show is important. Also make sure the little ones are sitting and watching the display from a safe distance. Children should know not to run to the sparklers like the summer sprinklers.

Have a happy and safe July 4th.

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