Fireworks safety on the Fourth

Americans like to blow things up, and with our most explosive holiday approaching, many citizens will be preparing for their own noisy celebrations of Independence Day.

But despite the 2005 change in state law that allowed certain fireworks in Georgia, the loud ones are still forbidden.

The 2005 law allowed sparklers, party poppers and fountains that emit showers of sparks, but bans all aerial or explosive devices.

"If it flies or explodes, it's against the law," said senior assistant state fire marshall Chris E. Stephens.

The sale and use of most fireworks including firecrackers, skyrockets and cherry bombs, is still illegal in Georgia and punishable by a maximum fine of up to $1,000 and up to one year in jail.

Though these limits probably helped keep fireworks-related injuries in Georgia to a minimum, last year fireworks still caused $200,000 in fire-related damage in the state, and $38 million nationwide, Stephens said.

Therefore, Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner Ralph T. Hudgens suggests that parents take the following precautions:

  • Parents should be supervising when children are using sparklers. "Sparklers burn at 1,800 degrees," Stephens said.
  • Be aware of drought conditions, and make sure sparklers and other devices are completely extinguished when the show is over.
  • Use sparklers outdoors only.
  • Don't try to relight an extinguished sparkler.