Throughout our area, Independence Day celebrations will begin shortly. So may hospital admissions of people injured by fireworks.
Communities and organizations throughout the country will provide professional fireworks shows for the Fourth of July. Beautiful, impressive pyrotechnics can be seen - and heard - by anyone in our area.
Yet thousands of people will buy their own fireworks, ranging from legal sparklers to large, illegal firecrackers and rockets.
Because explosives are being handled by people who are not accustomed to doing so - and who sometimes take risks to show off or because they are intoxicated - it is probable accidents will occur in our area.
We hope and pray none results in serious injuries.
Each year, many Americans are hurt badly - and a few are killed - by fireworks. Research shows about 9,000 people per year are treated in hospital emergency rooms for injuries caused by fireworks.
That works out to an average of about 1 injuries for each hospital in the country.
If the past is a guide, more than 700 of those injuries will be serious enough to require at least overnight treatment in hospitals.
There are no safe fireworks, though a few types, such as sparklers, are legal. Of an average year's injuries, more than 1,000 are burns from sparklers.
Even those who sell illegal pyrotechnics warn they should be used only by adults. Yet many children are among those requiring hospital treatment for injuries.
Leave the fireworks to professionals this extended Fourth of July holiday. Please, don't risk hurting yourself or your loved ones.