Have a safe Fourth of July; follow safety tips

Fireworks are as much an Independence Day tradition in Jefferson County as apple pie and flag-waving, but authorities are quick to point out that handling fireworks requires attention to safety precautions.

A number of cities — including Pine Bluff — forbid unlicensed individuals from discharging fireworks.

The National Council on Fireworks Safety reports that about 9,000 to 10,000 persons are injured while handling or discharging fireworks each Fourth of July. The organization, which figures most of the injuries wouldn’t have occurred if the fireworks had been used under the close supervision of responsible adults, offered the following tips to avoid such injuries:

• Know your fireworks. Read the warning labels and performance descriptions before igniting.

• Have a designated shooter.

• Alcohol and fireworks do not mix. Save your alcohol for after the fireworks.

• Parents and caretakers should always closely supervise teens if they are using fireworks.

• Parents should not allow young children to handle or use fireworks.

• Fireworks should only be used outdoors.

• Always have water ready if you are shooting fireworks.

• Obey local laws. If fireworks are not legal where you live, do not use them.

• Wear safety glasses whenever using fireworks.

• Never relight a “dud” firework. Wait 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water.

• Soak spent fireworks with water before placing them in an outdoor garbage can.

• Never attempt to alter or modify consumer fireworks and use them only in the manner in which they were intended.

• Report illegal explosives to the fire or police department.