Colorful fireworks displays are synonymous with the Fourth of July for many of us, like turkey on Thanksgiving or resolutions on New Year’s. And while “rockets’ red glare” may not have entered the national consciousness until Francis Scott Key penned the lyric in 1814, there’s something about lighting up the night sky on Independence Day that makes us all proud to be Americans.

Fireworks stands are popping up around the Crossroads ahead of the Fourth of July holiday next week, giving revelers ample opportunities to stock up on red rockets, little sparklers, Saturn missiles and all the other favorites.

We would like to wish all our readers a fun and festive Fourth of July, and we’d also like to take this opportunity to remind you to practice patriotism safely.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that an average of 280 people go to the emergency room per day around July 4 with fireworks-related injuries. And it seems every year, we hear a story or two about someone trying some dangerous stunt or experiment with fireworks that ends tragically.

However, even responsible people can be caught off guard when dealing with more than their usual level of firepower. Always handle fireworks cautiously, be prepared to put out a fire and dispose of them properly when you’re through.

Apart from considerations of life and limb, fireworks can also present a burn risk when fired near buildings, trees or dry brush. Be sure to keep your fireworks far away from anything that could ignite accidentally.

Before you light up the sky, be sure to check regulations on fireworks in your area. Many cities, including Victoria, prohibit the use of fireworks within city limits. If you don’t live in a firework-friendly zone, you may need to take the party elsewhere or perhaps enjoy a public fireworks show or a nice barbecue instead.

The Fourth of July is seen as a time to celebrate our country and to honor the bravery of the people who fought for our independence and those who continue to fight today. Regardless of why you celebrate the Fourth of July, always be safe around fireworks so that your fun holiday doesn’t end with a trip to the emergency room.

This opinion reflects the views of the Victoria Advocate’s editorial board.

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