Celebrate safely this weekend

The Fourth of July is a celebration of our country’s independence that always includes gathering of friends and family, community festivals and, in general, a lot of summer fun.
Unfortunately, many times it also includes injuries due to unsafe use of consumer fireworks.
As area residents prepare for the three-day holiday weekend, the Office of the State Fire Marshal is urging everyone to leave the fireworks to the professionals trained to handle them.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, consumer fireworks caused 9,600 injuries that were severe enough to warrant treatment in hospital emergency rooms in 2011.
The NFPA said that sparklers, fountains and novelty fireworks alone accounted for 34 percent of those injuries.
In Illinois, 76 emergency incidents were linked to the use of fireworks, according to the State Fire Marshal.
In addition to causing injuries, consumer fireworks also cause fires that can threaten homes and other properties. In 2011, fire departments handled 17,800 fires that were caused by fireworks, according to the NFPA.
All of those statistics should be enough to remind us to celebrate the Fourth of July safely this weekend, or risk causing serious injuries to family members or friends.
“There is no such thing as a safe firework,” State Fire Marshal Larry Matkaitis said.
“It’s not worth taking the risk of using illegal or consumer fireworks that could ruin the life of you and your loved ones,” Matkaitis said.
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