It is that time of year that people are heading out, buying their legal (and illegal) fireworks to celebrate Independence Day. But, there are some things you should be aware of before you light them off.

1.) Timing Is Everything: with the Fourth being on a Wednesday this year, people are celebrating for about ten days. Be mindful about your timing. Shooting them off the weekend before later than 10:30 p.m. is probably too late. Monday and Tuesday, it is definitely too late. On the Fourth, going until midnight is probably fine, but remember people work the next day.

2.) Be Mindful of Veterans: it may not be something that everyone thinks about, but people in the area are pretty friendly, a lot of people already know their neighbors and know if they are veterans. Some of them may have PTSD and cause distress. Usually, they are prepared on the fourth, and even days before, but days after, fireworks can catch them off guard and cause distress. Just be mindful of your surroundings.

3.) Be Mindful of Pets: a lot of pets don't like the loud noises and it scares them. If you are a pet owner, you know this about your pet. Take proper precautions so your animal doesn't run away or end up hurt. There are natural sedatives for them, play music, and if it is bad enough don't leave them alone.

4.) "Safe and Sane" are what are legal: mortars, roman candles, anything that goes high up and big booms are all illegal. Not to say that people don't get them and play with them, just keep in consideration number one and two. And, make sure you have water hoses, kids at safe distances, etc. Don't blow off a hand, it isn't worth it.

5.) Monitor You Inebriation Level: It isn't new that people don't make the best decisions when they drink alcohol. Have someone not only be your designated driver, but your designated firework lighter! That way there will be no issues with responsibility levels (probably).

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