Local fire departments are stressing fireworks safety as the Fourth of July nears.
More than 10,000 people are injured by fireworks annually, more than 35 percent of whom are under the age of 15, according to the International Association of Fire Fighters.
St. Louis Fire Department posted a series of tweets Wednesday, warning people about the potential dangers of fireworks.
One tweet said: “Parents, you wouldn't hand your child a blow torch to play with?! Sparklers can burn as hot, up to 1200 degrees & cause 3rd degree burns!”
The department warned against consumer fireworks, and encouraged people to visit professional displays instead, such as the fireworks show at Fair Saint Louis.
The Illinois Department of Natural Resources says anyone who buys, uses, transfers, stores or disposes of fireworks in Illinois must have an explosives license and explosives storage certificate that it issues. The department says anyone sponsoring fireworks displays in Illinois should make sure their vendors have the required state licenses and certificates.
Violations can be felony crimes with a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $10,000 fine. Hand-held fireworks, including firecrackers, Roman candles and bottle rockets, are not approved for sale or use in Illinois.
The National Council of Fireworks Safety offers the following tips to stay safe:
▪ Obey all local fireworks laws.
▪ Read cautionary labels and performance descriptions before igniting.
▪ Have a responsible adult supervise all firework activities.
▪ Stay clear of alcohol if you’re shooting of fireworks.
▪ Wear safety glasses.
▪ Light one firework at a time then move away quickly.
▪ Only use fireworks outside, away from buildings and vehicles.
▪ Never relight a dud firework. Wait 20 minutes then soak it in a bucket of water.
▪ Always have a bucket of water and a charged hose nearby.
▪ Never carry fireworks in your pocket or shoot them into metal or glass containers.
▪ Don’t try to light homemade fireworks.
▪ Dispose of used fireworks by wetting them and putting them in a metal trash can.
And remember to keep your pets safe. Many may be scared of the loud noises, so make sure to keep them inside so they don’t run off. Never shoot off fireworks near your pet or bring them to a fireworks display.