It has been a long standing tradition to celebrate Independence Day with a show of fireworks—since July 4, 1777, in fact. Following America’s first anniversary of independence, an article published in the Philadelphia Evening Post stated, “The evening was closed with the ring of bells, and at night there was a grand exhibition of fireworks on the Commons, and the city was beautifully illuminated.”

 Ever since John Adams first suggested we celebrate the occasion with “illuminations from one end of this continent to the other,” Americans have done just that. The American Pyrotechnics Association estimate that more than 14,000 fireworks displays occur in the country each Fourth of July. Many are public displays at community gatherings, but many Americans celebrate at home with their own light shows as well.

As we celebrate our nation’s birthday again this year, especially over the long weekend, we urge our readers to use caution should you choose to celebrate with such flare. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, about 5,600 fireworks-related injuries occurred between June 22 and July 22 last year, which represents 62 percent of fireworks-related injuries reported for the year.

 For those who choose to illuminate their own back yards this Fourth of July weekend, keep in mind these few safety tips. Light fireworks in a clear open space and give yourself plenty of room to back up immediately after lighting. Never point or throw fireworks at another person or animal. Sparklers can be fun for children, but only with a supervising adult around.

 Keep a bucket or water hose around to put out small fires in case of emergency and to soak used fireworks before disposal. Never attempt to re-light fireworks that have not fully ignited. Remain a safe distance away when lighting—don’t hover as you ignite.

 We hope everyone has a wonderful Independence Day celebrating as you choose. Always remember, safety first, and have a happy Fourth of July weekend!

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