Fireworks and the Fourth of July go together like hot dogs and hamburgers at a cookout. But a fun-filled holiday celebration can come to a painful end in a matter of seconds if you don’t use fireworks and sparklers with extreme caution.
In Georgia, sparklers and similar non-explosive, non-aerial fireworks are legal. That means things like snakes and glow worms, noise makers that include paper streamers, party poppers, snappers and drop pops. Fireworks that are not legal in Georgia are aerial fireworks, firecrackers, sky rockets and cherry bombs. If you’re caught using illegal fireworks in Georgia you could be fined or even sent to jail.
It is critical to remember that fireworks and sparklers can be dangerous, causing burns and serious eye injuries, even death. You may not realize it, but sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees - hot enough to melt some metals. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), between June 22nd and July 22nd about 200 people go to the emergency room every day with injuries from fireworks. CPSC also reports that in 2012, illegal and homemade fireworks were involved in six fireworks related deaths.
But you can enjoy a safe and fun Fourth if you, your family and friends follow some basic fireworks safety tips:
- Make sure fireworks are legal in your area before buying or using them. Laws can differ from state to state.
- Leave public displays and aerial fireworks to the professionals.
- Avoid buying fireworks that are packaged in brown paper because this is often a sign that the fireworks were made for professional displays.
- Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks.
- Always have an adult supervise fireworks activities.
- Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse. Back up to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks.
- Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not ignited fully.
- Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
- Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire or other mishap.
- Light fireworks one at a time.
- Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers.
- After fireworks burn out, pour water on the spent device before discarding it to prevent a trash fire.
For more information about fireworks and safety visit http://www.cpsc.gov/en/Safety-Education/Safety-Education-Centers/Fireworks/