Old Glory flys over the Presidio
Each year, people come together on the Fourth of July to celebrate America's freedom with backyard barbeques, community parades and family gatherings. The Presidio of Monterey wishes everyone a happy and safe Fourth of July holiday.

If you plan to spend the July 4th holiday somewhere that allows firework, remember that although fireworks might be a fun and exciting way to celebrate our nation's freedom, they can also be harmful or even deadly if not used properly.

According to Fireworksafety.com, malfunction and careless use of fireworks result in nearly 10,000 injuries every year. More than 65 percent of all fireworks-related injuries occur during the month of July.

Of those, more than half are to the hands, fingers, and eyes.

The most common fireworks that cause injury are firecrackers, bottle rockets, Roman candles, fountains, and sparklers that are legal in many states, including all areas controlled by the Presidio of Monterey as well as many local municipalities.

This year, you can help bring down that number of injuries by following these safety tips.

• Never use fireworks in your home. Always set them off outside on a driveway or sidewalk.

• Obey local laws. If fireworks are not legal where you live, do not use them.

• Always have water handy -- a hose or bucket.

• Be aware of other people around you and make sure they are out of range of the firework you are using.

• Never point or shoot fireworks at another person.

• Use common sense. Spectators should keep a safe distance from the shooter and the shooter should wear safety glasses.

• Do not try to re-ignite a "dud" as it could explode near your hands or face.

• Only light one at a time.

• Do not try to make your own fireworks.

• Never drink and use fireworks at the same time.

Remember to make smart decisions when using fireworks and to take proper precautions as indicated on the labels.

If you or someone with you is injured due to fireworks, seek immediate help or dial 911.

Fireworks safety is in your hands, and it is your responsibility as a service member to not risk injury. Let us make it through this Independence Day weekend with no injuries to our service members.

Page last updated Wed July 2nd, 2014 at 19:17