If you’re planning your wedding for this coming year or a big event such as a milestone birthday, you may be considering lighting up the party with beautiful fireworks. Going to this trouble is a fabulous way to ensure the event is remembered forever.

However, you do need to be sure everyone and everything stays safe and that nothing goes awry. Understand some essential safety tips to prevent a celebratory occasion from turning dangerous.

Read instructions

Don’t just go setting off a firework without reading the details on its packaging. Take in all the directions, cautions, warnings, and other information that manufacturers put on labels to help you understand not only the performance of each firework but the potential hazards associated with it, too.

Buy Quality Products

A prime factor in staying safe is buying quality, genuine, properly designed, and tested products in the first place. Purchase goods only from reliable, licensed sources such as dealers that sell fireworks that meet U.S. Consumer Product Commission standards.

Whether you buy fireworks online or at a brick-and-mortar store, spend your money with sellers who showcase legal products only. If you can’t see an instruction label and a manufacturer’s name on the packaging, goods are more likely to be illegal.

Choose Suitable Locations and Create a Perimeter

Buy products that are appropriate for the area where you’ll be lighting them. For example, if you only have a backyard in a residential zone to use, steer clear of aerial fireworks or anything that will be too large or loud for the area. Understanding local laws will help you with this element.

Set fireworks up somewhere with enough room away from homes and other structures. Use the goods only in open, flat, sturdy spaces that don’t contain flammable materials. Don’t get too close to trees or grass and the like. Look for surfaces such as bare dirt, concrete, sand, stone, or even snow-covered ones.

You’ll need to set up a safety perimeter, too. If you’ll have many people on location, it pays to set up some “Caution” tape or another visual barrier around the launch zone to keep spectators from getting too close. If you want to let off aerial fireworks, you’ll likely need to move everyone back to at least 150 feet or so for safety. If you have ground-based products, the perimeter doesn’t need to be so broad. Provided you keep people at least around 35 feet away, it should be okay. Always read product instructions in case there’s a need for additional space, though.

Check the Weather Conditions

Fireworks purchasers sometimes don’t know to hold off on displays if weather conditions don’t suit. In particular, it’s best to postpone your light and sound shows if it’s windy out. Strong winds can create safety hazards as they can push sparks out further than predicted and into areas you don’t expect, potentially leading to fires and other problems.

Plus, when it’s windy, fireworks can tip over and launch in the wrong direction. Gusts of wind may also send sparks towards yourself or your guests, further increasing risk.

Stay Sober and Don’t Rush.

It might seem obvious that you need to handle fireworks with a clear mind and good coordination abilities, but you’d be amazed by how many people set these products off when they’ve been drinking. If you’re under the influence and don’t have all your wits about you, your reaction time slows, you could judge the situation unwisely, and you could knock over or incorrectly light fireworks. Always stay sober and in control.

Also, don’t try to rush the process. Pace yourself, and only light one product at a time. The more fuses you’re trying to light and handle, the smaller window you have to get out of the way.

Keep Pets and Children Secure

You don’t want to be responsible for any harm coming to your or others’ pets or any children in the area. As such, secure your animals inside or wherever you can that will keep them out of harm’s way and ensure they don’t hurt themselves in fear when the fireworks starting going off. Request guests leave their pets at home rather than bring them to the venue, too.

If there are children on-site, make sure their parents or other guardians supervise them carefully during the proceedings. Never let kids play with fireworks either.

Some other steps you can take to stay safe include planning in advance for any problems, never reusing duds, and carefully disposing of used products. If you can, utilize professionals to handle the fireworks, so you can sit back and enjoy the show.