Fireworks can be fun, but they can also be very dangerous. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, between June 22 and July 22 last year over 5,000 Americans were treated by hospitals for fireworks related injuries. Nearly 60 percent of those injuries occurred within the 30 days surrounding Independence Day.

"Every year local emergency rooms see numerous injuries in the hundreds," said Missoula Rural Fire District Deputy Chief Chris Newman. "Hospitals see burns to the hands, head, and face, some very bad to where they are literally life altering injuries."

It's also important to understand some of the financial risks involved. Fireworks restrictions very from city to county across Montana so its important to check and make sure not to light off something that could end up earning you a fine.

"Anyone lighting off fireworks in any area, you are liable for damages," said Newman. "It could be in someone's front yard or back yard where there are Juniper type trees and plants. They can very easily catch on fire and then all of the sudden its not just a shrub fire, it's also a house fire."

Below are some tips from the Missoula Rural Fire District to help everyone have a happy and safe Independence Day.

  • Make sure the fireworks you want to buy are legal in your area before buying or using them.
  • Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks, including sparklers. Parents may not realize that young children suffer injuries from sparklers. Sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees - hot enough to melt some metals.
  • Always have an adult closely supervise fireworks activities if older children are allowed to handle devices.
  • Avoid buying fireworks that are packaged in brown paper because this is often a sign that the fireworks were made for professional displays and could pose a danger to consumers.
  • Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse. Back up to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks.
  • Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire or other mishap.
  • Never try to relight or handle malfunctioning fireworks. Soak them with water and throw them away.
  • Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
  • Light fireworks one at a time, then move back quickly.
  • Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers.
  • After fireworks complete their burning, douse the spent device with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding the device to prevent a trash fire.
  • Missoula Rural Fire District and the ATF encourages the public to report the manufacture or sale of illegal fireworks to your local law enforcement agencies or to the ATF hotline at 1-888-ATF-BOMB (1-888-283-2662).