BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - The new year is rapidly approaching, and thousands are starting to make plans on how to celebrate 2016.
But while making those New Years Eve plans, fire officials have some safety tips for residents and visitors when it comes to fireworks.
"Anything that is projectile or leaves the ground is illegal in the State of Florida. Basically your safest bet is with a sparkler," said Natalie McQueen, a Firefighter and Paramedic for the Panama City Beach Fire Department.
And while sparklers are allowed in the Sunshine State, residents and visitors still need to be cautious when using them.
"Especially with younger children, they shouldn't be handling them unattended, or really at all, they should never light them," said McQueen. "Parents need to keep close watch on their kids whenever they are handling sparklers. Burns are pretty common to the hands, sometimes to the face because sparklers do have little flickers that come off."
After you are done with the sparklers, fire officials say to place them in a big bucket full of water, and let them sit overnight.
But McQueen says the best way to stay safe while ringing in the New Year is leaving the fireworks to the pros.
"If you really want to enjoy the fireworks, I would suggest going to Pier Park and enjoying the show out there, or the Bay County Pier, that is your safest bet rather than taking the chance and hurting someone else or yourself," said McQueen.
If you are caught with fireworks in the State of Florida it could lead to misdemeanor charges.