With the arrival of the Fourth of July holiday, it's time to start preparing for the inevitable launching of fireworks. The Brazos River Authority reminded visitors that fireworks are strictly prohibited on Possum Kingdom Lake and all BRA public use areas. "Fireworks may be discharged on private property," noted Judi Pierce, BRA public information officer. "However, in order to ensure the safety of those on the water, shooting fireworks from private land over the water or public use areas is not allowed." Property along the lake front that is set aside by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is included in the definition of BRA public use areas. Also, any areas where the lake bed is exposed due to low water levels remains BRA property and fireworks may not be used there. From small sparklers to large missiles that send up showers of brightly colored sparks there are a wide variety of fireworks available for purchase that can be used on private property. However, for those who plan on using fireworks to celebrate the holiday it is important to remember a number of safety tips that will make the celebration fun and safe for everyone. According to the Center for Disease Control, over 7,000 people were treated in emergency rooms last year for firework related injuries. The highest rate of injuries occurred in children between the ages of 10-14 with the majority of those injuries involving extremities such as fingers, toes and arms. Some accidents were severe enough to cause death.


It's recommended to use a black top or solid surface for launching fireworks and to avoid dry grassy land that can easily catch fire from a burning ember. Obviously, keep children and small pets away from fireworks at all times and do not start lighting fireworks until all children are accounted for. Make sure a qualified adult who has experience with fireworks is present. This person should know how to administer first aide and has a first aid kit nearby in case something goes wrong. Always read the instructions on all fireworks and heed the safety instructions to ensure compliance with what the manufacturer deems safe use. Not following the instructions on fireworks can result in an accident. Avoid lighting multiple fireworks at once. Firework manufacturers suggest that the individual lighting it should have proper safety equipment including a solid pair of gloves, waterproof boots, safety glasses, ear plugs and a fire blanket as precautions. It's also a good idea to have either a hose or bucket of water within reach in case a fire breaks out from a burning ember or fireworks that backfire. Adhering to a few helpful safety tips can help ensure a fun and injury free Independence Day. Never let children play with fireworks. Always discharge fireworks under adult supervision. Never purchase illegal fireworks, instead buy only from reputable dealers. Make sure a firehose is nearby. Never make your own fireworks. Use protective eye wear. Never relight a "dud" firework. Always use fireworks outside and far away from flammable materials. If an injury occurs, call 9-1-1 and remember not to rub eye injuries as it can cause more damage.