GREENSBORO, N.C. - They pop, they sparkle, and they could be dangerous. We're talking about fireworks.

Millions of people across the nation celebrate the Fourth of July with the use of fireworks.

Fire officials say folks should stay away from the sparkles and attend a professional fireworks show instead for safety reasons.

If you still plan on setting off fireworks this holiday season, there's some things you should know.

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The Greensboro Fire Department is offering tips on how to safely handle fireworks from start to finish.

Once you light a firework on a flat surface outside in an open area, fire officials say, you should not turn your back and run.

"You should be walking back slowly facing the firework and making sure that it is going off," said Fire Marshal Tim Henshaw. "You should keep the area clear and make sure that no one runs up to it if you have kids around enjoying the show in your neighborhood."

Once the firework is done, officials say, the next thing you should do is "wait."

"You are going to want to make sure that the [firework] cools down. Once it's done smoking, give it some time," said Henshaw. "Don't rush up to that firework or try to move it and throw it in the trash can. Let it cool down. Once it's done, you can dispose of it after you wet it down."

Authorities say fireworks may look like a lot of fun, but they're hot and extremely dangerous.

"We want you to have a great time and have fun. But, make sure that you just take time as you are doing it. Don't rush out and do these [fireworks] in the yard, by trees, and don't let kids set these off," said Henshaw.