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Fourth of July is a great holiday weekend. It generally means time off from work and other obligations and time to spend with family and friends. It also means there will be fireworks galore. And, fireworks though fun are not toys. For those who plan to put on their own fireworks shows, it is must to review fireworks laws and safety tips.

It is essential to know the difference between legal consumer fireworks and dangerous explosives, and, it should go without saying, to NOT use them. In fact, such items as M-80s, M-100s and blockbusters are not fireworks but rather are federally banned explosives. So, those who use these explosives not only put themselves and others in physical danger but can also be held responsible legally for using them. If you notice anything that doesn’t have a clear label with name, manufacturer name and proper-use instructions, forget it. It is not worth the risks.

Never give fireworks to children, not even sparklers. Enough said. And never attempt to make your own explosive devices. Leave that to the pros.

The National Council on Fireworks Safety urges to treat fireworks with respect and to pay heed to all the cautions and warning.

Use fireworks and sparklers only outdoors.

Only persons over 12 years of age should handle sparklers of any type. Too many young people get burned by sparklers every year. By keeping sparkers out of youngsters, we can reduce these injury rates.

Obey local laws. If fireworks are not legal where you are, don’t use them. If drought conditions mean a ban on fireworks, follow the law.

Only use fireworks as intended. Don’t try to alter them or combine them.

Fireworks and alcohol do not mix. Have a designated “shooter”

When all else fails, use common sense. Respect fireworks and sparklers as the great American tradition they are, but also respect the fact that the must be used with caution.

For Illinois laws on fireworks, visit

Be safe and have a great holiday!

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