The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Editorials

July 3, 2014

Safety first on the Fourth | Be careful when driving, using sparklers

JOHNSTOWN — America will mark the observance of its independence on Friday.

Many people will hit the highways for trips to a relative’s home for the extended weekend. Others will host picnics or pool parties in their backyards.

Whatever way you plan to celebrate, please keep safety in mind.

AAA estimates that about 41 million people will be traveling during the holiday. More than eight in

10 of those will drive to their intended destinations.

With that many people choking the nation’s arteries, there are bound to be accidents. We would ask that you please drive cautiously, and defensively, so you arrive and return alive.

And we offer the following safety tips to drivers.

We know, you’ve heard them all before, but they bear repeating:

-- Always use a safety belt, and make sure children are buckled up in age-appropriate safety seats.

-- Refrain from using your cell phone or other distractions when you are driving.

-- Many states, including Pennsylvania, require driv-ers to turn on their headlights when using their windshield wipers.

-- Don’t drive if you have been drinking. For your safety and that of your passengers and other motorists, choose a designated driver.

And what would be a Fourth of July without fireworks?

Every Independence Day, thousands of people are injured, maimed or killed by sparklers or illegal fireworks such as firecrackers.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, 36 percent of injuries occur to the fingers and hands; 22 percent to the head, face and ears; and 16 percent to the eyes.

The commission and the National Council on Fireworks Safety offer the following safety tips for those using sparklers or other approved fireworks:

-- Sparklers burn at a temperature of about 2,000 degrees, hot enough to melt some metals.

-- Always have an adult supervise the use of spark-lers.

-- Have a bucket of water nearby and put spent sparkler wires into the bucket. The wires will retain heat long after the sparkler has burned out.

-- Never light sparklers or smoke bombs indoors.

-- Never throw sparklers at another person.

We hope everyone enjoys the July Fourth weekend.

But most of all, we want everyone to be safe, no matter what activities they have planned.

 

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