RALEIGH, N.C. — If you plan to celebrate Independence Day with fireworks this year, be safe, the North Carolina Office of State Fire Marshal says.
The safest way to celebrate the holiday, State Fire Marshal Jim Long says, is to attend a professionally produced fireworks show.
But if you do choose to set off fireworks at your home, here are a few simple, but important, tips to keep your Fourth of July a safe and happy one:
Keep fireworks away from children.
Use only legal fireworks approved by North Carolina law. Legal fireworks, according to the state, are considered to be devices containing less than 200 grams of chemical compound; they include sparklers, fountains, "glow worms," "snap pops" and other novelty devices.
Fireworks that explode, spin, fly or jump in the air or leave the ground in any way, such as firecrackers, ground spinners, Roman candles and bottle rockets, are considered illegal and unsafe in North Carolina. .
"People don't realize that most fireworks are illegal in this state, and that penalties for breaking this law include fines up to $500 and real jail time," Long says. Fireworks purchased in other states are also illegal.
Even novelty fireworks, such as sparklers, can burn as hot as 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit, and are responsible for hundreds of injuries every year. Never point them at people, pets, cars or buildings.
Pay close attention to your surroundings.
Keep a hose or bucket of water nearby in case of a fire emergency.