Although purchasing many fireworks items is illegal in Pennsylvania without a permit, there are some - considered novelty fireworks - that anyone can buy.
Even though they are labeled as novelty, they still pose a danger.
According to Pennsylvania law, consumer fireworks, defined as any combustible or explosive intended to produce visible and/or audible effects, are illegal in Pennsylvania without a permit.
Joe Beardsley, operations and training officer with the Warren Fire Department, said, "Fireworks in Pennsylvania are illegal. Only novelty items like sparklers are permitted."
Regardless of the obvious difference between an aerial display and an ordinary sparkler, both pose fire and injury risks.
When it comes to sparklers, Beardsley strongly recommends constant supervision when children have sparklers.
"There are a lot of burns caused by them every year, not just in Warren County, but across the country," Beardsley said.
While he couldn't pinpoint an age requirement for the sparkler use, Beardsley said, "I don't think their original intent was to be held."
One dangerous aspect of hand-held sparklers is their tendency to retain heat.
"I've seen kids drop them and another kid steps on it and burns the bottom of their foot," he said.
According to the National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA), 9,800 people were treated in hospital emergency rooms in 2007 with fireworks-related injuries. Fifty-six percent of those injuries were to the extremities.
"Keep a bucket of water nearby," Beardsley recommended. Water is a contingency plan if something goes wrong.
He also said people should be cautious of where the novelties are used.
"Make sure you use them on concrete and don't point them towards anything combustible," Beardsley said.
On Independence Day in a typical year, more fires are reported nationally than on any other day, and fireworks account for half those fires, according to the NFPA.
The NFPA reported that in 2006, fireworks caused an estimated 32,600 reported fires, including 1,700 total structure fires, 600 vehicle fires and 30,300 outside and other fires.
Beardsley also recommends the following precautions:
Let the device burn out completely before touching.
Keep novelty items away from children.
Do not re-light a device that has failed or burned out.
Only use items that are legal to use in Pennsylvania.
Read and follow the manufacturer's directions.