Yesterday while driving home I noticed that one of our regular fireworks vendors had already put up his tent and was readying for the upcoming July 4th fireworks season.

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Seeing that tent brought back memories of my high school days and the totally ignorant "bottle rocket wars" my friends and I would have.

I honestly believe we are personally responsible for the outlaw of those bottle rockets.  My high school letter jacket, covered in bottle rocket burns, is a reminder that fireworks scars are permanent.

Fireworks for the Fourth of July
Photo by Michael Smith/Getty Images
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According to ocfireworks.com, it's actually legal to purchase those fireworks now through July 5th.  However, each parish/city has its own ordinances as to when it's legal to pop those fireworks, so make sure you check before you start your display.

But, it's the safety of these fireworks that I call into question.  Most "displays" will go off without a hitch. However, if the bearer of those fireworks is: a/a redneck, b/drinking, c/just plain dumb, or d/a drunk, dumb redneck, then the odds of an unplanned trip to the emergency room increase exponentially.

Kent Nishimura/Getty Images
Kent Nishimura/Getty Images
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With safety the paramount concern, we've come up with a list of tips that all should commit to memory, in hopes of avoiding any accidental loss of digits or any other body parts.

Sparklers Can Burn You Badly

It's really hard for the somewhat cerebrally challenged to fully grasp the concept that a sparkler can still burn even a good minute after the flame has gone out. Remember, this is just a piece of wire, that seconds ago was ablaze, so handing this off to someone else (burned end to them) after its use, isn't the best idea. Oh, and sticking one in the back pocket of your shorts right after its extinguished will provide you with a quick reminder that you've made a mistake

Fireworks Shows Are Not for Your Labrador Retriever

Most dogs aren't very keen on fireworks to begin with, but especially not a good idea for your Labrador or any type of retriever. Remember, Fido's biggest joy in life is retrieving whatever you throw, and that includes firecrackers. Best practice here is to wrap him tightly in his thunder blanket and keep him indoors while he watches Animal Planet.

If the Package Says Flammable

I'm not sure that most bona fide dummies really understand the full concept of fireworks. There are two components here. Fire and gunpowder (the works part). So, if a package you might purchase has the word "flammable" written on it in any place, it's not just a possibility. It's definitely flammable, so keep it far from any of your display, or risk losing it or anything else near it forever.

David McNew/Getty Images
David McNew/Getty Images
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Was It Really a Dud?

From the personal observation of yours truly, one of the original fireworks dummies, take this one at face value.  Just because that firework didn't explode the first time you attempted to light it, doesn't necessarily qualify it as a "dud." NEVER ATTEMPT TO RELIGHT A "DUD." This thing might have just had a bad spot in the fuse and the attempt to relight it could prove successful, like immediately successful, on the second try.

Not the Time to be Drinking

This time of the year, emergency rooms across America get filled with people who were sure they weren't drunk enough to be dangerous with fireworks. Uh, that'd be wrong. These things are dangerous when sober, so just imagine the complications when you mix in a six pack. Unless you've always dreamed of having the nickname "Lefty" or "Two Fingers."

Of course there are a lot of other tips you'll want to consider before popping those fireworks and to see a great list, just go to the National Safety Council website.

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