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Louisiana Fire Marshal warns about illegal fireworks as New Year's Eve approaches

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BATON ROUGE - While fireworks are a fun way to celebrate the New Year, they can also be dangerous, especially illegal ones. 

Last year alone, there were 11 firework related deaths and over 10,000 injuries, leaving some in the ER. 29% of these injuries affected the hands, fingers, and face.

Safe firework usage includes always using class C fireworks for consumers, using them in a legal, designated area away from vegetation, and properly disposing of them.

"Consumer fireworks would be the least powerful fireworks that are for sale and those are the only legal ones for consumers," Fire Marshal Daniel Wallis said.

This year, over 500 retail stands in Louisiana have been inspected to ensure that they are not carrying illegal firecrackers.

"People can pretty much be assured that what they're getting, if they're buying from one of the regulated and licensed facilities in our state, they are actually getting those fireworks that are legal," Wallis said.

Illegal fireworks include any that are labeled class B, which are only available to licensed pyrotechnicians.

Specifics include M-80's, sky lanterns, aerial bombs, and torpedoes. Any roman candle fireworks with more than 10 balls are also illegal.

The US Consumer Product Safety Commission deemed sky rockets, also known as bottle rockets, unsafe due to their chemical composition.

"My biggest piece of advice is stay safe," Wallis said. "Know the rules and regulations and know if it's illegal in your particular area. Make sure that you have a water source available in the event that something gets out of hand and know that you can call 911 and call the dedicated men and women who serve our great state, and they'll come running and take care of any needs that you may have."

For a full list of safety precautions and legal areas to pop fireworks, you can visit the State Fire Marshal's website here.

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