AUTHOR'S NOTE: This story was originally written for Independence Day 2021. We're republishing it again ahead of the New Year's holiday to remind you of the dangers of fireworks and how to safely use them.

The Fourth of July is upon us.

As the holiday draws nearer, fireworks stands and stores are opening all across Acadiana. Already, many of you have begun building your Independence Day stockpiles. In some cases, some of you have already begun to pop fireworks.

Now, Lafayette city-parish leaders are urging Acadiana residents to be mindful of themselves and others when popping firecrackers this Independence Day.

Lafayette police remind residents of the city that popping fireworks in city limits is illegal. Residents can be ticketed for illegally setting off firecrackers or other pyrotechnics in the city. Residents in other towns will need to contact their local city halls or police departments for information about the legality of fireworks in their areas. Residents who live in unincorporated areas will need to contact their local police juries or sheriff's offices.

Lafayette Consolidated Government urges people to keep their pets and the pets of others in mind while popping fireworks. The loud booms may startle dogs and cats, causing them to runaway from their owners or, if outdoors, their homes. Lafayette Animal Shelter officials recommend keeping your pets indoors if you plan on lighting fireworks. Give your pets a chew toys to keep them distracted, and leave a television or radio playing in the background to drown out the sound of the explosions. They also recommend that you not take your dog to a fireworks show.

In addition, shelter officials urge you update your pet's microchipping information and to put a collar and tag on your four-legged friend.

Of course, humans have to protect themselves, too, while popping fireworks. We've heard of stories of people being maimed by fireworks; former LSU football player Jason Pierre-Paul is one example. The current Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive lineman suffered a serious hand injury on Independence Day 2015 during a fireworks accident. A firework exploded in Pierre-Paul's hand, blowing off his right index finger.

That injury forced Pierre-Paul to play the entire next season with a massive protective glove on his right hand. You can see that glove in the picture below.

New York Giants v Arizona Cardinals
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Since then, Pierre-Paul has been an advocate for fireworks safety. You don't have to take his word for it. The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission, with whom Pierre-Paul has worked to spread fireworks safety awareness, annually produces a video showing how dangerous fireworks can be to humans and their homes by using mannequins and watermelons as examples of what can happen in a worst case scenario.

So, what can you do to protect yourself and other people from disaster while popping fireworks? Scroll down to read 10 tips to stay safe while enjoying pyro this Fourth of July.

Ways to Stay Safe While Popping Fireworks

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