Store-bought fireworks are legal in Georgia, but can cause fires and injuries. State Insurance and Fire Commissioner Ralph Hudgens has released tips on safer use of fireworks and urging “extreme caution.”

The main tip: Don’t use consumer-grade fireworks.

“The safest way to enjoy fireworks is to attend a public fireworks display,” Hudgens said in a press release.

Last year, 158 “fireworks incidents” were reported in Georgia, according to Hudgens, including fires that burned vehicles, mobile homes, grass, brush and woodlands.

If you can’t resist buying your own fireworks, Hudgens has the following tips for safer use:

  • Purchase fireworks from a licensed fireworks dealer. The commissioner’s office maintains an official list, with searchable map, here.
  • Observe all state laws regarding the use of fireworks.
  • Read the labels carefully before igniting any fireworks.
  • Ensure that an adult supervises all firework activities.
  • Never allow children to ignite fireworks.
  • Wear safety glasses when shooting fireworks.
  • Light only one firework at a time.
  • Only use fireworks outdoors in a clear area, away from buildings and vehicles.
  • Never try to relight a firework.
  • Have a garden hose or bucket of water nearby.
  • Use caution with animals. Excitement, noise, and lights can cause fear and stress.

John Ruch

John Ruch is an Atlanta-based journalist. Previously, he was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.