NORWALK - On the eve of Fourth of July, a holiday marked by giant firework shows throughout the country, southwestern Connecticut fire officials remind people who plan to set off their own fireworks to follow safety rules.

Norwalk Fire Department Marshal Glen Iannaccone says that fireworks can be dangerous if they fall into the wrong hands. He suggests that before setting off fireworks, people should make sure they are legal to use, find an open and flat area free of trees and bushes, and never light any type of firework while still holding it.

He also reminds people to always have a bucket of water or garden hose handy in case a small fire needs to be put out.

Iannaccone says more fires happen on the Fourth of July than on any other day of the year. In 2005 alone there were 1,800 structure fires and 700 car vehicle fires attributed to fireworks across the country.

According to Iannaccone, residents can have firework fountains that shoot up 1 or 2 feet into the air, but those types of fireworks that can take off and explode in the air are prohibited by state law.

State law also prohibits any person under the age of 16 from purchasing or handling any fireworks. Still, Iannaccone says the majority of fireworks-related injuries happen to children ages 10 to 14.

Fire officials emphasize that the best way to have a safe Fourth of July celebration is to leave fireworks to the professionals and attend one of the public shows.