Click to read about the best places to eat on campus, freshman packing tips, and how to keep in touch with friends.

Planning a safe and satisfying Fourth of July

The Fourth of July is fast approaching, which means many USF students will be celebrating their freedom with family, food, fun and fireworks. While going to a public firework display is the safest way to enjoy the Fourth of July festivities, some still prefer to spend the holiday lighting fireworks in their own front yard. The Oracle brings you tips on how to celebrate the nations independence, while staying safe and avoiding a trip the emergency room.

Firework safety
Preventing injuries such as severe burns and vision impairment should start before lighting the first sparkler.

One should only ignite fireworks on a flat surface free of flammable materials, such as dry leaves. A large bucket of water should be kept nearby to put out any accidental fires. If a firework fails to ignite, one should pour water on it to be sure it does not go off unexpectedly. It should not be relit.

A designated lighter should be chosen. With just one adult lighting the fireworks, there is less chance for confusion. This person should make sure spectators are at least 10 feet away from the display area, and must alert everyone when a firework is being lit. If the designated lighter is not sober, they should not be allowed to continue with the display.

Children should not be allowed to handle any type of firework. While sparklers are assumed to be safe enough for kids, they are actually capable of causing severe burns. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), sparklers can reach temperatures of up to 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Replacing sparklers with red, white and blue glowsticks is a great way for children to celebrate July 4 without hurting themselves.

The remains of the used fireworks should not be left outside. They should be soaked in a bucket of water prior to being thrown away to eliminate the possibility of a garbage fire.

Keep pets inside
The Fourth of July might be fun for humans, but its a nightmare for their four-legged friends. So when the neighbors start hauling out firecrackers, make sure all pets are inside and comfortable. Pets should not be left in backyards. Dogs and cats will attempt to escape the loud noises by digging under or climbing over fences.

If pets seek refuge under a couch, in a bathroom or in a small closet, one should avoid trying to drag them out to comfort them. While intentions may be good, removing the animal from its safezone will cause it more distress.

Another way to keep pets calm is by canceling out the sound of fireworks with noise from something familiar, such as a television or radio.

Free Fourth of July firework displays:

The Pier St. Petersburg 9 p.m.

Channelside Bay Plaza Tampa 9 p.m.

Coachman Park Clearwater 9:30 p.m.

Saftey Harbor City Marina 9 p.m.

Temple Terrace Golf & Country Club 9 p.m.

Busch Gardens Tampa 9 p.m.

Florida Auto Exchange Stadium Dunedin 9:30 p.m.

Click to enlarge recipes on right.