CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Fireworks and the Fourth of July go hand in hand. Nothing symbolizes the holiday better than a summer night's sky filled with the loud, colorful displays. However beautiful and patriotic these light shows may be, they can also be very dangerous.
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, fireworks led to nearly 9,000 emergency room visits last year. Between June 20 and July 20 medical professionals see the highest number of fireworks-related injuries.
If you will be lighting your own fireworks this year, here are few safety tips to keep in mind.
"Make sure you buy your fireworks from a reputable company. Inspect them to make sure everything is properly packaged and doesn't look home-made," said North Charleston Fire Educator Bianca Sancic.
Once you've gotten all of your Bottle Rockets, Roman Candles and Firecrackers read through the directions before lighting them. Not doing so could lead to serious injury, or in severe cases, even death.
According to fire experts, it's also best to let a sober adult handle the fireworks.
"You want that person very aware of what they're doing to be working with explosives," Sancic said.
As soon as the fireworks have been ignited, back off and keep your distance. If the fireworks do not shoot off and it appears to be a dud, don't go over an inspect it.
"If it doesn't go up, don't look inside because it could go off and blow your face off," one vendor said, "Let it sit for 10 minutes tip it over, kick it out and douse with water."
Don't leave small children alone with any fireworks and be sure to keep them away from any nearby buildings or debris.
"Have some good distance from other buildings like your neighbor's or your own home so you don't burn down the house or ruin a nice evening of fun," Sancic said.
But the absolute best way to avoid injuries this weekend is to let the professionals do their thing.
"Your safest bet is to go and enjoy one of the big public displays going on," Sancic added.