SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Police and fire officials are becoming increasingly concerned about fireworks safety as the 4th of July approaches.
Cities and towns that have banned fireworks are getting a lot more complaint calls these days and Tuesday, South Portland and Orono teamed up to make sure people know what the rules are going into Independence Day.
Both cities ban fireworks, but both are located right next to towns with fireworks stores.
South Portland Police received 67 fireworks-related complaints last month. Last June, they only got 8. Lt. Frank Clark of the South Portland Police Department said, "We're responding on almost a nightly basis on what we did in the first 6 months of last year."
Orono also has had problems. Lt. Scott Luciano of the Orono Fire Department said, "What we've seen is people throwing them out of vehicles and starting small grass fires on the side of the road. I think people don't really know some of the laws and we want to get that out to the public."
The departments want to get the word out that fireworks laws vary from town to town, so you need to check before you light them. Also, some fireworks that are available in New Hampshire, like bottle rockets, are illegal in Maine. You need to make sure that the fireworks you are buying can be lit here.
Even in towns that allow fireworks, you may only use them on your property or on the property of someone who has given you permission.
You cannot sell fireworks without a license.
And minors are banned from using or possessing fireworks. You can be fined between 200 and 600 dollars if you give fireworks to anyone under 21.
Firefighters also are offering tips on how to light and dispose of fireworks properly:
Point fireworks away from houses, woods, people or anything flammable.
Keep a bucket of water nearby
If fireworks do not go off, wait 20 minutes, and then put them in the bucket before you dispose of them.
Only light one firework off at a time. That way, you know that the firework has gone off before you light another one.
Finally, read and follow the directions on the fireworks.