Don’t let a trip to the emergency room ruin your Fourth of July plans.

Fireworks are a spectacular way to celebrate, but they also pose dangers to yourself and others around you. In addition to the risks of personal injury, fireworks start an average of nearly 19,000 fires every year in the U.S.

If you choose to use legal consumer fireworks during the holidays, be sure to follow the following firework safety tips and keep yourself and your neighbors in the Columbus region safe.

13 Firework Safety Tips from the National Safety Council

  • 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 fireworks indoors.
  • Only use fireworks away from people, houses, and flammable material.
  • 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 re-light 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 a fire.

Firework safety applies to sparklers too

Sparklers burn at about 2,000 degrees – hot enough to melt some metals. Sparklers can quickly ignite clothing, and severe burns from dropping sparklers on your feet can occur if proper safety guidelines are not followed.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, sparklers alone account for more than 25 percent of emergency room visits for fireworks injuries. They also pose an elevated risk for children under five years old, as sparklers account for almost half of firework injuries for that age range. Safer alternatives to sparklers, like glow sticks, colored streamers, or confetti poppers can be fun options for young children.

Follow these safety tips and help keep yourself and those around you safe this Independence Day.