Common Sense Fun

The arrival of the Fourth of July this week means the fireworks season is in full swing. And while it’s a special pleasure to crane your neck at a warm summer sky and watch pyrotechnical artistry unfold, it’s also tempting to load up on a personal supply of rockets and make plans for a private display.

If that temptation is too much to resist, we urge you to follow a few simple safety suggestions. Problems can arise when fireworks are in the hands of amateurs, or are sent skyward by people who fail to take into account that they have neighbors.

So we urge you to keep everything well away from children and from tinder-dry grass and brush. Injury and even death can result from failing to pay attention to fireworks safety tips, and rockets and sparklers and other fireworks can easily lead to a fire.

You wouldn’t play with sticks of dynamite, and the same caution should be exercised with “consumer” fireworks, which are indeed explosive devices.

In New Hampshire, no one under 21 is allowed to set off or purchase fireworks. They can be shot off only in communities that allow fireworks, and then only on one’s own property or where written permission of the property owner has been obtained. Water – a hose or bucket – should be close at hand, and no attempt should be made to relight a “dud.”

And we support taking the advice of Derry Police Capt. Vern Thomas, who said a person who sets off fireworks should not use alcohol, but should function in much the same position as a designated driver.

Here are a few more things to remember: pay attention to your surroundings and to the people who live nearby, particularly the elderly or the very young. Because in addition to the bright lights, there’s the noise. There’s no way to have a fireworks display without waking up every dog in the neighborhood, but sending up private fireworks for hours – or days – late into the night in a congested cul-de-sac is asking everyone else to give up their peace and quiet. We may like to say we live in a rural area, but we’re quickly becoming suburbia – and that means we have plenty of neighbors.

So as we head into the celebratory season, with the Fourth of July and town fairs and Old Home Day celebrations and backyard or lakeside festivities coming up fast, be careful. Go ahead and celebrate by lighting up the sky – but do it with common sense. Use caution with fireworks, and common decency with noise.

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