As Wisconsinites gear up to celebrate the 4th of July, state officials are issuing a reminder about safety when using fireworks. That's because thousands of Americans are injured each year in fireworks-related accidents, some even fatally.

Stephanie Marquis, with the State Department of Health and Family Services, says safety should be the first priority if your holiday plans include setting off fireworks on your own. That includes setting them off in a designated area away from buildings, keeping small children away from them, and keeping a bucket of water or hose on hand to help put out any fires.

The majority of fireworks injuries occur among small children. Marquis says sparklers are the biggest offender when it comes to hurting kids, and parents shouldn't underestimate how hot the metal can get.

Of course, Marquis says the safest bet is to let the professionals handle the fireworks displays, rather than doing it at home. 

AUDIO: Andrew Beckett reports (MP3 :55)

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