We've all seen the jokes on social media about fireworks during the Fourth of July Holiday period where someone will tell children not to set off fireworks because they are dangerous, and they should let the adults who have been drinking all day handle it.

An attempt to be funny, but handling fireworks is definitely not a joking matter.

Celebrating the Fourth of July, our nation's birthday, is synonymous with blasting off fireworks in backyards or going to watch a big show of the bombs, and that is what they are, at a community event.

And every year, people get hurt, maimed and even killed by fireworks that were improperly handled.

According to the National Safety Council, in 2017, eight people were killed and more than 12,000 people injured by fireworks-related incidents.

Of those, 50 percent of the injuries were to children and young adults under the age of 20.

More than 67 percent of those injuries happened between June 16 and July 16, prime celebrating time.

While the majority of these incidents were due to amateurs attempting to use professional-grade, homemade or other illegal fireworks or explosives, an estimated 1,200 injuries were from less powerful devices like small firecrackers and sparklers.

Sparklers can burn up to 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit, and remain hot long after they are burned. Certainly not an item you want children to be careless with.

One of the most noteworthy Fourth of July fireworks-related injuries happened in 2015 when New York Giants star defensive lineman Jason Pierre-Paul blew off part of his own hand when the fireworks he was handling went awry.

In addition to causing injuries, fireworks improperly handled can cause fires.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, an average of 18,500 fires per year, including 1,300 structure fires, 300 vehicle fires and 16,900 outside and other fires, are caused by fireworks.

In recent years as the holiday approaches, it is not uncommon to see several large white tents spring up in town selling huge amounts of fireworks.

You can even get them at various large retailers like Sam's Club.

The presence of so much firepower easily available surely is tempting to those wanting to celebrate the holiday with a bang.

If you are going to use fireworks, please take these precautions.

• Never allow young children to handle fireworks

• Older children should only use them under close adult supervision

• Anyone using fireworks and standing nearby should use protective eye gear

• Never hold lighted fireworks in your hand

• Never light them indoors

• Only use them 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 fire

• Never use illegal fireworks

And the top piece of advice that we can't stress enough: never use fireworks while under the influence of alcohol.

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