Independence Day is right around the corner, which means parties, parades and a fireworks show to end the night. While fireworks can be fun and beautiful, they can also be dangerous if mishandled. Whether you plan on attending a public fireworks display or setting off your own, Better Business Bureau serving Eastern North Carolina (BBB) wants to make sure consumers understand the risks.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), an estimated 5,600 fireworks-related injuries were treated in U.S. hospital emergency rooms during the 1-month period between June 22, 2018 and July 22, 2018. An additional 500 others were treated for injuries associated with sparklers and another 200 for bottle rockets.

“For those who plan on purchasing fireworks this year, be sure to check with local law enforcement agencies to see what is permitted in your area,” says Mallory Wojciechowski, president and CEO of BBB serving Eastern NC. "It is important to be in the know before its too late and you are hit with hefty fines."

BBB recommends the following tips to have an injury-free Independence Day celebration with your friends and family:

-Know the seller. Fireworks are usually sold on a roadside stand or at a temporary location. Be sure to only purchase from a reputable seller, and keep your proof of purchase and the original packaging in case something was to go wrong. Remember to check them out with BBB first.

-Know the laws. In the state of North Carolina it is illegal to sell or possess firecrackers, rockets, ground spinners, Roman Candles, and aerial fireworks. A general rule of thumb is anything that explodes, spins, leaves the ground or flies through the air is illegal.

-Know what you are buying. Make sure you understand what each firework does before purchasing one. Ask how old the fireworks are, and be sure the fireworks you are buying are legal in your state to avoid hefty fines.

-Know your surroundings. Be mindful of where you will be using the fireworks. Crowded subdivisions may pose a risk, as well as areas with a lot of vegetation that may spark a fire.

-Know how to use them. Make sure you understand how to use fireworks to avoid any damage to your property, or injuries to yourself or others. Remember, all fireworks can be dangerous if misused, so be sure to read and follow the instructions fully before lighting one.

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