SAYRE - In celebration of this Independence Day weekend, Greater Valley EMS would like to remind the Valley community of the risk of fireworks-related injuries associated with the careless use of fireworks. The thrill of sparklers, bottle rockets or firecrackers is exciting, but when used improperly, can bring quite a bit of pain. In the United States an average of two hundred people go the emergency room every day with fireworks-related injuries in the weeks surrounding the July 4 holiday.

The following safety tips are provided by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission:

- Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks.

- Avoid buying fireworks that are packaged in brown paper because this is often a sign that the fireworks were made for professional displays and that they could pose a danger to consumers.

- Always have an adult supervise fireworks activities. Parents don't realize that young children suffer injuries from sparklers. Sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees - hot enough to melt some metals.

- Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse. Back up to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks.

- Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not ignited fully.

- Never point or throw fireworks at another person.

- Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire or other mishap.

- Light fireworks one at a time, then move back quickly.

- Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers.

- After fireworks complete their burning, douse the spent device with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding it to prevent a trash fire.

- Make sure fireworks are legal in your area before buying or using them.

"Simply remembering that fireworks can be dangerous, and treating them with respect is the best place to start with your family's injury-prevention" said Derrick Hall, paramedic and operations director for Greater Valley EMS. Locally the most common injuries from fireworks are burns of the hands and fingers, occurring in males 25 to 44 years old. For more information regarding fireworks safety or Greater Valley EMS, contact Sonya Bement, paramedic outreach supervisor at (570) 888-6000 x228.