Before lighting off any fireworks, legal or otherwise, this holiday weekend, keep in mind the following tips provided by Herb Truhe of International Fireworks:

Ÿ Refrain from drinking alcoholic beverages while using fireworks.

Ÿ Smoking should be prohibited around fireworks, as cigarettes can easily ignite fuses.

Ÿ Only use professionally-manufactured fireworks. Never attempt to alter fireworks in any way.

Ÿ Adults should always be present when fireworks are being used. Never let children handle, play with, or light fireworks.

Ÿ Use fireworks on flat and level surfaces. Be sure to point fireworks away from homes or wooded areas. Compensate for strong winds.

Ÿ Never light fireworks in dry, flammable areas. Never shoot fireworks out of glass or metal containers.

Ÿ Always use a punk, road flare, or elongated lighting device to ignite fuses. After lighting, quickly retreat to a safe distance.

Ÿ Never put any part of your body directly above a firework or look into a launch tube.

Ÿ Never hold a firework in your hand while lighting. Fuses are unpredictable and can burn extremely quickly. Place the firework on the ground before lighting.

Ÿ Keep a fire extinguisher or water supply on hand. Place spent fireworks in a bucket of water.

Ÿ Never try to light "duds." Soak them in water and then dispose of them properly.

Ÿ Between 9:30 p.m. and 11 p.m. is the best time to use fireworks. Always notify your neighbors of your planned usage ahead of time.

Ÿ Fireworks can easily scare animals, both domesticated and wild. Be considerate when using them.

Ÿ When you are finished with your display, clear the area of any debris or "duds."

Ÿ Store fireworks in a cool, dry place, preferably away from your home. Always dispose of used fireworks properly.

Ÿ Never use fireworks indoors.