Don't end your summer with a BANG! Published June 28, 2011 By Airman 1st Class Lynsie Nichols 374th Airlift Wing Public Affairs YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan (AFNS) -- Independence Day is a major holiday in the United States and overseas at American facilities. This year, Air Force leaders urge members and their families to practice safe use of fireworks in an effort to prevent any mishaps. According to an American Pyrotechnics Association fact sheet, consumption of fireworks in the United States has risen dramatically from 29 million pounds to more than 265.5 million pounds over the past three decades. While the use of fireworks has increased by almost 920%, injuries per 100,000 pounds of fireworks have decreased more than 90%. Officials with the National Council on Fireworks Safety urge consumers to be fireworks smart, before, during and after their consumer fireworks display. Before: Choose an open area away from spectators, homes and buildings and dry vegetation. Use a garden hose to wet down the area before firing. During: As each device burns out, soak it using a hose, or bucket of water. After: Place all used items in a covered, fireproof container and leave it outside and away from homes and buildings. Treat all fireworks with respect, read all the cautions and warnings and use common sense. Lighting fireworks indoors, throwing them from automobiles and lighting multiple devices at the same time can lead to accidents and are not how fireworks are intended to be used. Always obey all local laws pertaining to the use of fireworks. Practicing these tips will keep you and your friends and family safe this Fourth of July weekend.