The Fourth of July is next week and while it’s great to have fun, make sure to stay safe during the festivities.

Annually, reports of burns and eye injuries go up in the days surrounding July 4. It’s important to follow safety guidelines.

The Fourth of July is a holiday to celebrate America’s independence and of course eat hot dogs, corn, watermelon and oh yeah, shoot off fireworks. The pastime is well-regarded across the country. Millions of Americans buy fireworks from their local stands every year.

In Linn County, it’s no different. Marceline is getting ready with a whole week’s worth of activities, Brookfield will have a firework show, even the Linn County Leader office is decorated for the big day. While it’s great to have some fun, it’s also a great time to remind everyone about proper firework safety.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than 53 percent of reported injuries on July 4 are burns. The most affected areas being hands, arms and the face.

Linn County Health Department administrator Krista Neblock says to watch out for burns.

“Burns can be serious,” Neblock said. “Seek medical attention, especially for eyes and face.”

According to Neblock, keep your dogs and cats inside on the fourth.

“Many pets are lost on the fourth,” Neblock said. “Make sure to have tags for your animals, don’t take dogs to the fireworks shows.”

Neblock’s recommendations for firework safety are; watch fireworks from a safe distance, never stand over a firework, be aware of your neighbors and their preferences regarding fireworks, do not light dud fireworks, soak spent fireworks in water before throwing them away.

According to emergency room director Karen Sylvara, fireworks are meant to be lit as-is.

“Fireworks are not meant to be made stronger,” Sylvara said.

Sylvara’s list of recommendations for firework safety include; do not point fireworks at people, use adult supervision, alcohol and fireworks do not mix, wear protective clothing and sunscreen, drink plenty of water.

Sylvara says Pershing Memorial Hospital always receives some people with firework accidents.

“We always have some people admitted during the fourth,” Sylvara said. “There are usually quite a few significant cases that come in. [Fireworks] can be a lot of fun, but they are inherently dangerous.”

Neblock says if you can’t follow these guidelines you may want to find a show to watch.

“Leave the professional fireworks to the professionals,” Neblock said.

Marceline will have a firework presentation starting at 11 p.m. July 4. The fireworks can be best viewed from Ripley Park. Brookfield will also have a fireworks show sponsored by the Elks. The Brookfield fireworks show begins at 9:30 p.m. July 3 at Graff Field. Both shows are open to the public.