6 simple things you can do to stay safe around fireworks this Fourth of July.

We all know fireworks can be a lot of fun, but they can also be really dangerous (like really, really dangerous).

In 2016, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (USCPSC), four people died as the result of fireworks-related injuries in the U.S., and around 11,100 people were injured.

Luckily, the USCPSC has a number of helpful resources on their website for avoiding injury, as well videos demonstrating how to safely use fireworks. They even have a PSA from New York Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, a star football player who lost his right index finger to a fireworks accident in 2015.


Here are six easy steps you can take to greatly reduce your chance of injury, while still being able to have fireworks fun this summer.

1. Never let children light fireworks and have them keep a safe distance from any explosives.

Children under the age of 15 made up 31% of all fireworks-related injuries in 2016. Even sparklers can be dangerous, burning at around 2,000 degrees!

All GIFs from USCPSC/YouTube.

2. Never try to re-light fireworks that didn't go off.

Sometimes a dud isn't actually a dud. Even if it was just a case of the fuse fizzling out before it reached the end, there's a reason it's as long as it is to begin with: to give you enough time to get a safe distance away. Lighting a short fuse is a bad idea. Douse the firework with water and move on.

3. Don't point fireworks at other people, and make sure there's nothing in their flight path before igniting the fuse.

Roman candles, bottle rockets, and other smaller explosives are no exception. These can all cause some pretty significant injuries.

4. Keep a hose and a bucket of water nearby, and be sure to douse all spent fireworks in water after they're done burning.

After your fireworks are spent, hit them with a quick blast of water to neutralize any residual explosive powder. And since you're working with fire anyway, the hose and bucket are good to have on hand in case something goes wrong.

5. Don't set off fireworks in metal or glass containers.

If flying shards of glass and metal shrapnel aren't welcome editions to your Fourth of July festivities, it's probably best not to use empty bottles or metal containers as makeshift launchpads.

6. Most importantly, leave the professional fireworks to the professionals.

Following the guidelines in the five tips above will ensure safety for you and your family while lighting bottle rockets, sparklers, Roman candles, smoke bombs, and firecrackers. When it comes to the bigger shows and sky-high fireworks, however, the absolute best thing you can do is to leave it up to the pros.

Pack some snacks, a blanket or a few lawn chairs, and check out your local news or government website to find out where the nearest fireworks display is happening.

Because, to paraphrase "The Simpsons," what better way to celebrate the independence of your nation than to blow up a small part of it?

Check out this 2017 video from the USCPSC for more useful tips about fireworks safety. (Additional videos from 2015 and 2016 can be found on the organization's YouTube page.)

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Davina Agudelo was born in Miami, Florida, but she grew up in Medellín, Colombia.

"I am so grateful for my upbringing in Colombia, surrounded by mountains and mango trees, and for my Colombian family," Agudelo says. "Colombia is the place where I learned what's truly essential in life." It's also where she found her passion for the arts.

While she was growing up, Colombia was going through a violent drug war, and Agudelo turned to literature, theater, singing, and creative writing as a refuge. "Journaling became a sacred practice, where I could leave on the page my dreams & longings as well as my joy and sadness," she says. "During those years, poetry came to me naturally. My grandfather was a poet and though I never met him, maybe there is a little bit of his love for poetry within me."

In 1998, when she left her home and everyone she loved and moved to California, the arts continued to be her solace and comfort. She got her bachelor's degree in theater arts before getting certified in journalism at UCLA. It was there she realized the need to create a media platform that highlighted the positive contributions of LatinX in the US.

"I know the power that storytelling and writing our own stories have and how creative writing can aid us in our own transformation."

In 2012, she started Alegría Magazine and it was a great success. Later, she refurbished a van into a mobile bookstore to celebrate Latin American and LatinX indie authors and poets, while also encouraging children's reading and writing in low-income communities across Southern California.

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