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Don’t forget about safety as you celebrate freedom PDF Print E-mail

The birthday of the United States of America will be officially celebrated this Thursday, July 4, and there’s little doubt that the fireworks and festivities will be extended right into the post-holiday weekend in this lake-blessed vacation paradise.


We celebrate this week the 237th anniversary of the day the Continental Congress adopted the wording of a Declaration of Independence, a document that officially separated the 13 colonies from Great Britain.


Though the colonies had been at war with the British Empire for more than a year before it was officially signed, it was a document engrossed on animal skin that told the world of the birth of a new country — a free country where “all men are created equal.”


It is the brave and daring 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence who we remember this week, and especially its principal author, Thomas Jefferson. They are the Founding Fathers who put everything on the line for their hard-fought freedoms, mutually pledging to each other “our lives, our fortunes and sacred honor.”


With the Fourth of July celebrations come activities that require a measure of safety for everyone’s sake. It was future U.S. President John Adams who suggested that Independence Day “ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade . . . Bonfires and illuminations from one end of this continent to the other, from this day forward forevermore.”


But all people and especially parents of young children should make note that thousands of people are treated in hospital emergency departments every year for injuries associated with fireworks.


According to the Wisconsin Division of Emergency Management, U.S. emergency room physicians treated 9,600 fireworks-related injuries in 2011. More than half of those injuries, 54%, were burns. One-fourth of the victims were under the age of 15.


Illegal fireworks include Roman candles, firecrackers, bottle rockets and mortars — anything that explodes or leaves the ground. They can only be purchased and used with a permit issued by a local unit of government.


Prevent Blindness America says both types of sparklers, even those labeled consumer fireworks, burn at more than 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit. Sparklers are the second-highest cause of fireworks injuries behind firecrackers.


With the festive American holiday comes one of the busiest weeks of the year for the highways and waterways of Vilas, Oneida and Forest counties. We will have more residents and more vacationers than at any other point in 2013.


Safety begins with vehicle and boat operators who are sober. It continues with boaters who know the law — regarding mandatory no-wake areas, intoxicated driving, waterskiing hours, special rules for personal watercraft, spotter requirements for skiing, etc.


We need more boaters and motorists who are willing to show respect for others, leading by example by being patient and courteous. Be the first to let someone go first.


Have a safe and happy Fourth!

Behind the editorial ‘we’
Members of the Vilas County News-Review editorial board include Publisher Kurt Krueger, Editor Gary Ridderbusch and Assistant Editor Anthony Drew.

Tuesday, July 02, 2013 1:49 PM

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