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Fireworks safety: What you need to know if planning your own show

Guilford County encourages folks to watch professional fireworks, rather than set off their own. But if you are having your own show, here's what you need to know.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Fourth of July celebrations come with cookouts and of course, fireworks but not all are legal. Experts said even legal ones aren't entirely safe.

There's a lot of work that goes into making sure professional shows, like Guilford County's at Northeast Park Sunday go smoothly.

The crew that placed 745 rounds for the show received a permit and special training before the show.

"Guilford County EMS is on-site for any medical issues whether it’s with the fireworks or with the event itself," Guilford County Deputy Fire Marshal Bobby Carmon said. "We have the fire department on standby. They’re here with their firetrucks and brush trucks in case something goes wrong."

Carmon said the county gets several calls about firework injuries around Independence Day. Officials would rather people watch professional displays instead of set them off at home.

"Even in (professional displays), it's not uncommon to see a misfire but it's contained. It's in a tube built to hold that firework. What you're shooting in your yard is not," Carmon said.

Fireworks that fly in the air are illegal in North Carolina, and you could face misdemeanor charges for setting them off.

You can set off sparklers and fireworks that stay on the ground, but either one can injure you. Burns to the hands, legs, face and eyes are the most common injuries. Sparklers burn up to 2,000 degrees. 

You could face charges if someone gets hurt because of fireworks you set off.

"If that firework causes damage to a person or property damage then that can escalate to a jail sentence," Theresa Knops with Winston-Salem Fire Department said.

Officials also discourage celebratory gunfire. A bullet went through a Greensboro home last Independence Day. No one was hurt but fire officials said it was not worth the risk.

"It's gonna come down somewhere and if somebody is there, they are going to be hurt by it," Carmon said.

Experts said if you do choose to set fireworks off at home, make sure you have water on hand to put them out with and a phone to call 911 if needed.

You can find a full list of fireworks shows in the Triad here.

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