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Caution urged with shooting fireworks

Firework stands started popping up around Christmas for residents to load up on bottlerockets, firecrackers, smoke bombs and all sorts of other novelty items. Children were excited to receive fireworks under the tree and have been holding on to them all week in anticipation of nightfall on New Year’s Eve.

While fireworks are a tradition for many friends at parties and just as general bonding time among families, there are a few things to keep in mind. Remember that they are actually illegal to shoot off in the city limits. There are many reasons for this, mainly due to safety.

People wind up in the emergency room with burns to the hands and other extremeties. Often people will injure their eyes and ears. An expensive hospital bill and hours of your time waiting in an emergency room are certainly not worth the few minutes of fun you can have shooting fireworks, especially if you were irresponsible and reckless.

There’s always the chance a wayward firework can land in a pile of leaves or hit a neighbor’s car and spark a fire. Given the massive amount of rain we have had in Lafayette County, those odds this season have gone down drastically, but that is always something to keep in mind. Despite our recent rainfall, it’s always a good idea to have a bucket of water nearby in case something lights on fire or a firework acts up.

Speaking of acting up, if you wind up with a dud firework, don’t attempt to relight it. Just let it go into the metal trash can after being wetted down.

Last but not least, remember that some people may not enjoy the fireworks like you do. They don’t like the loud noises, particularly the elderly who may get startled and scared. Fireworks certainly scare most dogs also. Be sure your pets are in a safe spot on New Year’s Eve and the day after when there will likely be firecracker usage in the neighborhood.

Ultimately, fireworks are the safest and most spectacular when left to the professionals for large displays. But if you can’t travel to a display or can’t wait until July 4 for the big annual celebration here in Oxford, we urge you to use caution, common sense and courtesy when shooting your own off in the county.