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      Fire officials remind about fireworks safety

      COLUMBIA (WACH) -- With the Fourth of July holiday weekend upon us, fire officials are taking the time to remind people to keep safety in mind when using fireworks.

      The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates nearly 10,000 people were treated for fireworks-related injuries during their last study in 2004.

      Interim Columbia-Richland Fire Chief Aubrey Jenkins wants to help keep that number down in the Midlands.

      Jenkins recommends leaving the explosives to the professionals because of the high risk of property damage and injuries.

      Officials offer these safety tips to help users stay out of harm's way:

      - Always read and follow label directions- Have an adult present- Never allow children to play, hold or light fire works- Only buy from licensed dealers- If you do use fireworks, light them outdoors, away from dry grass- Always have water handy (a garden hose and a bucket)- Always wear eye protection and never lean over fireworks while lighting, and wear snug-fitting clothing while lighting fireworks- Never experiment to make your own fireworks- Light only one firework at a time- Keep fireworks that are not being used, covered to protect them from accidental fall out from the fireworks display- Never throw or point fireworks at other people- Never re-light a dud firework- Never carry fireworks in your pocket- Never light or hold lighted fireworks in your hand

      "Consumers need to heed our warning: fireworks related incidents, especially those involving illegal fireworks, can be fatal," adds CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum. "Only use legal fireworks and follow CPSC's tips to ensure your holiday remains festive and safe.