MUSKOKA, ON – Fire departments around cottage country know they can’t stop people from using fireworks, so they have some advice.

A release from Muskoka Fire Prevention asked people to leave fireworks to the professionals and attend public displays.

“There are many displays being hosted throughout Muskoka with experts who are trained to handle and discharge fireworks safely,” Huntsville/Lake of Bays Fire Prevention Officer Mike Vadlja said. “For everyone else, fireworks can be extremely dangerous. For this reason, family fireworks or informal neighbourhood displays are not recommended.”

Vadlja understood people will still buy their own and set them off with family and friends.

He said if anyone decides to take that route, they should first consult their local fire department to see what regulations there are for the explosives.

The fire prevention officer added to follow these safety tips.

• Appoint a responsible person to be in charge. Only adults who are aware of the hazards and essential safety precautions should handle and discharge fireworks.

• Discharge fireworks well away from combustible materials like buildings, trees and dry grass.

• Keep onlookers a safe distance away, upwind from the area where fireworks are discharged.

• Always keep a water hose or pail of water close by when discharging fireworks.

• Light only one firework at a time and only when they are on the ground. Never try to light a firework in your hand or re-light dud fireworks. For dud fireworks, it is best to wait 30 minutes and soak them in a bucket of water. Dispose of them in a metal container.

• Keep sparklers away from children. Sparklers burn extremely hot and can ignite clothing, cause blindness and result in severe burns. As the sparkler wire remains hot for some minutes after burnout, it should be immediately soaked in water to avoid injury.