Be safe this holiday season

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Every year, we celebrate the Fourth of July with parades, picnics, barbecues and fireworks — the things that happy memories are made of.

But sadly, every Independence Day includes some tragic events.
Thousands of people — many of whom are children — are injured as a result of using fireworks each year. According to the National Fire Protection Association, the risk of injury while using fireworks is two-and-a-half times as high for children ages 10-14 as for the general population.
The safest way to enjoy fireworks is through public displays conducted by professionals, which will be held in both Belen, on Saturday, and in Los Lunas, on Sunday. However, many of us are intrigued and awed by fireworks and want to shoot off fireworks for our own entertainment.
But learning firework safety tips can help ensure that everyone involved is happy and safe during their Independence Day celebration. Some important tips, according to the NFPA, are:
• Purchase fireworks from a licensed store or stand. Legal fireworks are packaged and have safety warnings.
• Only use fireworks outdoors.
• Obey all local laws regarding the use of fireworks. The legal age to purchase fireworks in New Mexico is 16. Penalties could run up to $500.
• Only use fireworks as intended. Don’t try to alter them or combine them, and never relight a “dud.”
• Never give fireworks to young children.
• Always have a bucket of water or water hose nearby.
Fireworks are spectacular, exciting and fun, but the dangers are real and have the possibility of getting out of hand if safety is ignored or forgotten.
Please be responsible this holiday season. Within the boundaries of safety precautions, fireworks will still be as fantastic and enjoyable to everyone.