Make the Most Out of the Fourth by Staying Safe

The Fourth is a time to celebrate community and be outside, but with the crowds and extra outdoor time, also comes added risks.

Renée Cooper spent the day consulting with experts, and shares how to make the most out of the cookouts and parades, by staying safe.

The only product at Memory Fireworks that’s safe to ever hold in your hand is the sparklers. The rest of the explosives require following a few simple guidelines.

To safely light a firework, the first thing you need is a flat surface, like a piece of plywood. Then you’re going to find the fuse on the side and make sure your head is not over the firework. Once you light it, you’re going to need to run at least 20 feet away from the firework itself.

Memory Fireworks Co-Owner Shannon Knutson says never walk back up to a firework that just went off. 

She adds, “Maybe two shots went off and the rest didn’t. Never go up to a firework, never put your head over the firework. Just wait until later, set it aside and never reignite it.”

Even if you stay away from fireworks, there are a couple other health hazards to be aware of:

Joyce Sayler of the Department of Health’s Cancer Program says, “When you’re looking at sunscreen, you want to make sure that your sunscreen is a minimum of 30 SPF, up to 50. And you want to apply that sunscreen every two hours while you’re outside.”

There are multiple apps that can tell you how serious conditions are, or just look down at your shadow. 

If the shadow is taller than you, UV exposure is lower; if it’s shorter, you’re being exposed to higher levels of radiation. 

Sayler explains that when the UV Index is high like today, you can burn within 15 minutes of walking outside.

Lastly, you can’t see bacteria like e-coli, but it’s certain to be around the grill.

Epidemiologist Laura Cronquist says the best way to protect yourself and family is to wash your hands.

She explains, “No matter where you’ve been, what you’ve been doing, especially if you’ve been around animals or the animals’ environments.”

Cronquist notes hand-sanitizer is good to keep handy, but it doesn’t kill all germs. Classic soap and water is always a better option. 

Don’t forget your umbrella or a nice wide-brimmed hat if you’re headed out to the parade tomorrow.

KX News will be live-streaming the parade on our KX News website:, and we will have it live on CBS from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. 

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