When it comes to celebrating July 4th, fireworks are at the top of just about everybody's to-do list. And while most folks pull up a chair or a boat at one of the area's large fireworks displays, others prefer to set off their own.

But if you're planning to set off your own, know that you're probably breaking the law and you may be putting yourself and others in danger.

Under Florida law, only sparklers are approved for consumer use, according to information provided by the South Walton Fire District. That rules out any fireworks that explode or fly, including shells, mortars, multiple tube devices, Roman candles, rockets and firecrackers.

Fireworks under Florida law that are legal for personal use include snakes or glow worms, smoking devices that produce white or colored smoke, trick noisemakers, party poppers, snappers and trick matches.

Local law enforcement officials say they get complaint calls about illegal fireworks on this loudest of holidays.

"Deputies do respond to complaints of illegal fireworks," said Michele Nicholson, spokeswoman for the Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office. "In most situations, the first goal is to educate, inform and request immediate compliance.

"However if individuals insist on continuing to use them, then they can be cited."

Riza Harris, an employee of a  fireworks stand on Beal Parkway, said Tuesday that vendors are not allowed to sell fireworks that explode or fly. The largest fireworks vendors are allowed to sell, according to multiple employees of local firework stands, are fountains that shoot up sparks from the ground. 

"When we have tourists come in, especially those out of state, they are looking for Roman candles, M-80s, things that fly and explode," Harris said. "They want their own personal show without having to deal with the crowds on the beach. Our consequence as a vendor is that we lose customers because of the law."

Colby Clark, who purchased fountain fireworks and sparklers Tuesday afternoon, said he believes the law impacts the local economy. Many individuals, he said, drive to surrounding states to purchase fireworks rather than buy from local suppliers or celebrating the holiday in Florida.

"I understand the safety risk of things leaving the ground, but people want to celebrate the way they want to celebrate," Clark said. "We're just going to be shooting off fountains that don't leave the ground. It's still a celebration, but it's a little disappointing."

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, an estimated 12,884 people were treated in emergency rooms last year for fireworks-related injuries. About a third of those injuries occurred on July 4.

To celebrate safely, follow these precautions provided by the South Walton Fire District:

Use sparklers and other legal novelties on a flat, hard surface. Do not light them on grass.
Light only one item at a time and never attempt to re-light a "dud."
Don't use any unwrapped items or items that may have been tampered with.
Keep a fire extinguisher or water hose on-hand for emergencies. It's a good idea to drop used sparklers in a bucket of water.
Only purchase fireworks from licensed vendors.
Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks.
Never have any portion of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse.
Never carry sparklers in your pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers.

And if you're planning to attend one of the area fireworks shows, keep an eye on the skies and online. Inclement weather may force last-minute cancellations.