It should go without saying that driving sober or securing a designated driver is a key way to stay safe this New Year’s Eve. But another danger lurks on this holiday, too: fires or injuries caused by careless or unsafe use of fireworks.

Setting off some consumer fireworks on New Years is a tradition that can be safe as long as a few commonsense safety rules are followed, according to Ralph Apel, spokesperson for the National Council on Fireworks Safety. He offers the following firework safety tips to follow this New Year’s and beyond:

  • Know your fireworks. Read the warning labels and performance descriptions before igniting.
  • Have a designated shooter organize and shoot your family show.
  • Alcohol and fireworks do not mix. Save your alcohol for after the show.
  • Parents and caretakers must closely supervise teens if they are using fireworks.
  • Parents should not allow young children to handle or use fireworks.
  • Fireworks should only be used outdoors.
  • Always have water ready if you are shooting fireworks.
  • Obey local laws. If fireworks are not legal where you live, do not use them.
  • Wear safety glasses whenever using fireworks.
  • Never relight a “dud” firework. Wait 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water.
  • Soak spent fireworks with water before placing them in an outdoor garbage can.
  • Never attempt to alter or modify consumer fireworks and use them only in the manner in which they were intended.
  • Report illegal explosives, like M-80s and quarter sticks, to the fire or police department.

With these tips in mind, you’ll be on your way to a bright but safe start to 2013.

Firework Safety: Don’t Let Your New Year Start with a Bang
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