Safety should be a top priority on July 4th

Two hundred thirty-seven years ago, the country we call home became in existence and every year since then we have celebrated its birthday.
July Fourth is often a time to enjoy barbecues or watch fireworks as the spectacle lights the night sky. With temperatures forecasted to be in the low 80s, weather will not be a huge factor, in preventing any firework displays this year.
Boonville Police Chief Bobby Welliver said shooting fireworks within the Boonville City limits is illegal.
"I would urge parents to take their children to a fireworks display in the area. Most are free of charge. These displays are done by trained professionals so everyone can enjoy the fun without danger!
A fireworks display will be shown at Kemper Park, near Third Street on Thursday, July 4 at sundown.
"While we haven’t had any major problems concerning fireworks in recent memory there is always the potential for bodily injury or damage to property. If you allow your children to shoot fireworks they should be well supervised by an adult and make sure the fireworks purchased are safe to use. Always abide by the safety instructions contained on the fireworks packaging," Welliver said.
While fireworks within the city limits are banned, fireworks can be shot off outside the city limits. According to the National Fire Protection Association in 2011, fireworks caused an estimated 17,800 reported fires, including 1,200 total structure fires, 400 vehicle fires, and 16,300 outside and other fires within the United States. These fires resulted in an estimated eight reported civilian deaths, 40 civilian injuries and $32 million in direct property damage.
The Red Cross issued some points to be considered when entertaining friends and family with fireworks, including staying at least 500 feet away from the firework display.
For individuals setting off fireworks at home the Red Cross also stated fireworks can catch fire easily especially if the ground is dry. It is recommended to keep a supply of water close by as a precaution. Eye protection should be worn when lighting fireworks. Light only one firework at a time and never attempt to relight "a dud."  Store fireworks in a cool, dry place away from children and pets. Never throw or point a firework toward people, animals, vehicles, structures or flammable materials.
The Missouri Department of Transportation issued a statement detailing the dangers of drinking and driving, especially during the Fourth of July holiday. MoDOT states the Fourth is notorious for alcohol-impaired driving crashes. State and local law enforcement will be out in full force July 3–7 seeking impaired drivers through increased sobriety checkpoints.
The Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety recommends planning to designate a sober driver. If an individual is impaired, it is recommended the individual call a taxi, call a sober friend or family member or use public transportation to get home safely. MCRS also urges individuals to call 911 if they see a drunk driver. It is also recommended to always wear a seat belt.