The Union Recorder

Local News

July 2, 2013

Fireworks spark safety concerns

MILLEDGEVILLE —

Fireworks have always added a sparkle of fun to Independence Day festivities, but it’s important to know how to properly handle them to avoid serious injuries. The first step to having a safe Fourth of July is to become familiar with the state laws on fireworks. 

“Every year we see people coming in from other states that don’t really know what the rules are for fireworks in Georgia,” said Baldwin County Fire Marshal and Deputy Chief of Administration Steve Somers. 

In a press release on the importance of firework safety, Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner Ralph Hudgens urges citizens to use extreme caution to avoid injuries when using legalized fireworks during the Fourth of July holiday. 

“Consumers may be confused when they discover certain types of fireworks on sale at local retail outlets near our state’s borders, but it’s imperative that out-of-state travelers know which types are legal to use for their holiday functions,” Hudgens said.

Georgia law states that the definition of prohibited fireworks shall not include: “Wire or wood sparklers of 100 grams or less of mixture per item; other sparkling items, which are non-explosive and non-aerial and contain 75 grams or less of chemical compound per tube or a total of 200 grams or less for multiple tubes; snake and glow worms; trick noise makers, which include paper streamers, party poppers, string poppers, snappers, and drop pops each consisting of 0.25 grains or less of explosive mixture.”  

The sale and use of most consumer types of 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.  

In 2012, there were more than 18,700 injuries caused by fireworks, including more than 7,300 emergency department visits, according to data from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Seventy-four percent of patients who were admitted for injuries were children. According to Somers the main type of injuries seen the most in Baldwin County are burns caused by mishandling sparklers, especially with children. He reminds everyone that only adults should light fireworks and to always have adult supervision around children. 

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