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      Tips for a safer, fireworks-filled 4th of July

      The new Freedom Fireworks store in Escanaba opened to customers just two weeks ago. Items are flying off the shelves, according to employee Kyle Maurina.

      "Customers are just ecstatic about the store being open, so they can come in at anytime, pick up the things that they need for a party or a family get together that they're having," said Maurina.

      Whatever the occasion, many safety tips need to be considered.

      "Just to keep a safe distance away, not to hold them in your hands, try not to do them under the influence of alcohol or any other drugs, things like that. If you need to, wear gloves, because stuff is hot," Maurina said.

      Some other tips: never let kids play with fireworks without supervision, check the fire danger, have water and a cell phone nearby in case of fire or an injury, and be aware of local ordinances about where you can light fireworks off and when.

      Last year, Michigan law began to allow fireworks that were previously illegal, including many louder fireworks and ones that leave the ground. Now this year, municipalities were able to make their own ordinances to ban fireworks use overnight. Violators could face up to a $500 fine. In the city of Marquette, fireworks complaints fall under the city's noise ordinance that's in place from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. every night, according to Marquette Police Department Sgt. Ryan Grim.

      "They can be issued a citation or given a warning about the excessive noise. We ask that people just use common sense and common courtesy for their neighbors when they're lighting off fireworks," said Grim.

      If you have safety and laws on the front of your mind, it will be easy to have a fun celebration.

      "Kids just love everything. They'll go through, pick up some nice stuff. We've got some kids packs that they're just ecstatic about. They love the sparklers and stuff like that. They'll carry the stuff that they've picked out throughout the entire store," Maurina said.

      Maurina added that people are surprised at how reasonable many of the fireworks are. He said many customers like to go big. Several people a day rack up a bill around $500.