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Independence Day

There is nothing quite like Independence Day.  The fourth of July is such an important day in our history and, if you don’t already know this, it commemorates the United States adopting the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776.  The Continental Congress declared that the 13 American colonies regarded themselves as a new nation, the United States of America, and were no longer part of the British Empire. 


The celebration is marked by the smells of backyard barbecues, the company of good friends, and the sights and sounds of amazingly beautiful fireworks.


For weeks we haven’t been able to drive more than a few miles without seeing one of those bright yellow signs advertising all of the miniature explosives that have become such an integral part of this celebration and I will never forget one long-ago 4th of July that I spent at my uncle’s house near the Angelina River with my cousins.  See that dark-haired nerdy girl in the back?  Yep, that’s yours truly.  Now, I can’t remember if this photo was taken the same day, but I’m guessing it is because all the players in this tale are present.


It started off with my dad showing us some fishing skills (while we asked a million times if it was time for the fireworks yet).  We ate (and asked if it was time for the fireworks yet).  We visited (and asked if it was time for the fireworks yet).  Finally, as the sun sank and the sky went from a pure blue, to fiery red, to the navy haze of dusk, it was time.  What my mom and aunts expected to have was something like this:



However, what they wanted wasn’t what they got.  If they had any photos at all of this event, they probably looked more like this:



You see, it all started with a bottle rocket.  My dad and his brothers loved those things and we had a ton of them just waiting to explode over the river.  Unfortunately, there wasn’t a bottle to be found.  They tried cans – which tipped over – and who knows what else before deciding that they would just stick them in between the boards of the pier that my uncle had built out over the water.

The first tester firework went off without a hitch and, as it burst into all its blinding white glory over that inky black river, they started lining up the rest.  Then they started lighting them as fast as they could.  It went okay for the first two or three, but then  . . . well . . . one of them got tired and flopped over.

What happened next will still be told in various versions, but suffice it to say it there were men diving into the water heedless of anything hiding below, children scrambling to just get out of the way as fast as they could while being chased by rockets that were zooming across the ground like heat guided missiles – I swear you could NOT get away from those things – and lots and lots of screaming.  It probably only lasted a few minutes, but when you’re running for your life, it seems a lot longer.  In the end it was nothing if not a very memorable evening.

We were lucky.  We got a great story and no one was injured and nothing caught fire.  Not everyone is that lucky.

According to an article on, almost 20,000 fires annually are because of firework and almost 10,500 people are seen in the hospital due to fireworks-related injuries.

The most injured body parts, according to NFPA, are:

  • Hand or finger – 36%

  • Head, face, and ear – 19%

  • Eye – 19%

  • Trunk or other – 11%

  • Leg – 10%

  • Arm – 5%

More than half of these are burns caused by firecrackers (20%) and sparklers (19%).

You can protect yourself, your family, and your possessions by doing some of the following:

  • Have an adult present at all times.

  • Clean out any gutters and keep yards free of debris that can catch fire easily.

  • Don’t use fireworks if you’re in the middle of a drought.

  • Don’t use fireworks if they’re illegal where you live.

  • Keep fireworks away from children.

  • Never point fireworks at others.

  • Use a flat, hard surface – like a driveway – in an open area.

  • Keep kids at least 30 feet away.

  • Avoid lighting fireworks on grass or in containers.

  • Wear eye protection.

  • Have a way to put out a fire handy – an extinguisher, hose, or bucket of water.

  • Put used fireworks into a bucket of water

  • Alcohol and fireworks do not mix.Have a “designated shooter.”

Another thing you can do to make sure that you keep your family and home protected is through having an insurance checkup.  Home, auto, life, and health insurance all cover incidents that could arise from fireworks use such as house fires, auto damage, death, and injury.  If you already have these policies, schedule an appointment with your agent to make sure you’re fully covered and so that you know which policy covers which kind of incident and what may be excluded.  If you don’t have coverage, it’s a perfect reason to talk to a local independent agent about what you need.  At First Insurance Services, quotes are always free; you can come in and visit with one of our Customer Service Reps or call in and speak to a live person without the hassle of “button pushing.”  You will never get spam emails, unwanted flyers, or harassing phone calls if you don’t go with our agency and you can be sure that we will do everything we can to get you the right coverage at the best price.  Come see us today for all your Fourth of July coverage needs!