Stay home, stay safe and enjoy July 4 in style

Stay home. Stay safe.

No, we’re not talking about COVID-19 this time. We’re talking about the Independence Day fireworks that will be set off in Williamsport and visible across much of the city and neighborhoods south of the river.

We see it as a plus that Backyard Broadcasting will go ahead with its 25th annual Set the Night to Music Fireworks Extravaganza the night of July 4. The plan is to use only the high-flying pyrotechnics that are launched skyward some 400 to 800 feet so local people may watch them from their yards, porches and balconies. Nobody will be permitted on the grounds where the fireworks show will be staged.

With most crowd-pleasing events canceled this spring and summer because of the ongoing pandemic, including some other fireworks shows, we’re concerned about the increased temptation for individuals to buy personal fireworks and the potential for injuries these devices create.

Setting off fireworks, after all, is one of the most popular ways to celebrate the July 4 holiday in this country.

In 2018, about $322 million in fireworks were imported into the United States, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

On average, 180 people go to the emergency room somewhere in the nation every day with fireworks-related injuries in the month around the Independence Day holiday.

And it’s not just firecrackers and larger fireworks that cause injuries — sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees and pose a serious risk to children.

More than 9,000 people were treated for fireworks-related injuries last year, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. More than 44 percent of the injuries were burns. The most frequent body parts injured were hands and fingers, 28 percent; legs, 24 percent; eyes, 19 percent; heads, faces and ears, 15 percent; trunks/other body parts, 10 percent; arms, 4 percent.

That’s nothing we would want to see happen to anyone, ever. But given the numbers, anyone choosing to set them off must be extremely careful in how they handle them. It’s important that these devices be used by adults with safety precautions in place and never given to children.

Better yet, make a plan to watch the show that will be set off by pyrotechnics experts at 9:40 p.m. July 4.

This will allow many people to celebrate in sparkling patriotic fashion while avoiding a crowd.

So stay home.

Stay safe.

And enjoy the show.


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