This time of year, tents selling fireworks and other Fourth of July novelty items spring up in shopping center parking lots throughout the area. Even some of the big box stores have a selection of these items.
The sparkling, flashing and explosive displays are almost synonymous with Independence Day. They also are dangerous if the proper precautions are not taken. The hot dry weather has created an additional risk.
"People should be extra careful this year," Elkins Fire Department Chief Tom Meader said. "With this heat wave, it would only take a small spark to start a fire."
In Elkins city limits, residents can put off fireworks that are legal to purchase in the Mountain State. However, they should keep in mind that just because they are legal they can still be hazardous. Meader said people should avoid any of the illegal fireworks such as the ones that result in an explosion or that are shot into the air.
According to U.S. Fire Administration, an estimated 8,600 people were treated in hospital emergency rooms for fireworks-related injuries in 2010. Of those, 2 out of 5 injured were younger than age 15.
To ensure the safety of those wanting to put on their own backyard display, Meader offers these safety tips:
Keep the fireworks away from people and grassy areas.
Always use adult supervision.
Keep an eye on loose fitting clothing.
Having a happy and accident-free Fourth of July celebration should top the list of weekend plans.