Fireworks are a blast—only when handled with care, says the Louisiana State Fire Marshal’s Office. We’ve got a few tips you should follow during the holiday fireworks season, which is already underway, and will continue until midnight on New Year’s Day.

According to a news release from the Deputy Chief Brant L. Thompson, each year, severe burns, disfigurement, and deaths are directly attributed to the unsafe use of fireworks, with the majority of those most at risk being children under the age of five. Children ages 10 – 14 are the second group most susceptible to injuries.

The State Fire Marshal’s Office suggests the safer alternative of attending public fireworks displays which are conducted by professional and licensed pyrotechnic operators in controlled venues, approved by an appropriate regulatory agency.

Here are tips to insure a safe Christmas and New Years, free from fireworks related injuries.

· Obey all local laws regarding the use of fireworks.
· Know your fireworks; read the cautionary labels and performance descriptions before igniting.
· A responsible adult SHOULD supervise all firework activities. NEVER give fireworks to children.
· Alcohol and fireworks do not mix. Save your alcohol for after the show.
· Wear safety glasses when shooting fireworks.
· Light one firework at a time and then quickly move away.
· Use fireworks OUTDOORS in a clear area; away from buildings and vehicles.
· Never relight a “dud” firework. Wait 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water before disposing of it.
· Always have a bucket of water and charged water hose nearby.
· Never carry fireworks in your POCKET or shoot them into METAL or GLASS containers.
· Do not experiment with homemade fireworks.
· Dispose of spent fireworks by wetting them down and place in a metal trash can away from any building or combustible materials until the next day.
· FAA regulations PROHIBIT the possession and transportation of fireworks in your checked baggage or carry-on luggage.
· Report illegal explosives, like M-80s and quarter sticks, to the fire or police department.

Get more information on fireworks safety by visiting the websites of the Louisiana Office of State Fire Marshal Public Safety Services, the National Fire Protection Association, and the National Council on Fireworks Safety.