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Tips for practicing fireworks safety this Fourth of July

Tina Locurto
York Dispatch
Takeela Saunders, left, looks on as Ciara Saunders, right, both of Camp Springs, Maryland, shows her daughter Sage, 5, how to safely hold a sparkler at Phantom Fireworks of Shrewsbury in New Freedom, Tuesday, June 28, 2016. Dawn J. Sagert photo

Though beautiful to look at from a distance, fireworks can be dangerous and pose a threat to those who are unfamiliar with safety measures.

The National Safety Council advises that people should leave the fireworks shows to the professionals. Even in states such as Pennsylvania where fireworks are legal to use, the council recommends that people not use fireworks at home. 

In Pennsylvania, it is illegal to set off fireworks within 150 feet of an occupied structure, and anyone setting off fireworks must have the permission of the property owner.

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For those who do choose to light their own fireworks, the National Safety Council has the following tips: 

  • Never allow young children to handle fireworks
  • Older children should use them only under close adult supervision
  • Never use fireworks while impaired by drugs or alcohol
  • Anyone using fireworks or standing nearby should wear protective eyewear
  • Never hold lighted fireworks in your hands
  • Never light them indoors
  • Only use them away from people, houses and flammable materials
  • Never point or throw fireworks at another person
  • Only light one device at a time and maintain a safe distance after lighting
  • Never ignite devices in a container
  • Do not try to relight or handle malfunctioning fireworks
  • Soak both spent and unused fireworks in water for a few hours before discarding
  • Keep a bucket of water nearby to fully extinguish fireworks that don't go off or in case of fire
  • Never use illegal fireworks

Additionally, the National Safety Council advises against the use of sparklers for younger children. The council suggests using glow sticks, confetti poppers or colored streamers instead. 

— Reach Tina Locurto at tlocurto@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @tina_locurto.