Forsyth County Fire Department Urges Fireworks Safety This Independence Day
The Forsyth County Fire Department urges citizens to leave fireworks displays to professionals over the Independence Day weekend and to practice safe firework handling guidelines if used by consumers.
“Fireworks displays are a part of many Independence Day celebrations, but they are also very unpredictable, and accidents can occur with little to no warning,” said Division Chief Jason Shivers. “The best way to avoid injury is to remain alert and to leave the fireworks displays to trained professionals.”
While the Fire Department highly recommends firework shows being handled solely by professional technicians, the use of consumer fireworks is permissible when used in accordance with state law. If residents choose to handle fireworks, the Fire Department encourages the following recommendations provided by the Consumer Product Safety Commission:
- Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks. Only those 18 and older can legally use fireworks in Georgia.
- Avoid buying fireworks that are packaged in brown paper. This is often a sign that the fireworks were made for professional displays and could pose a danger to consumers.
- Always have an adult supervise fireworks activities, even sparklers, which burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees.
- Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse.
- 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, then move back quickly.
- Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers.
- Douse spent fireworks with plenty of water before discarding it to prevent a trash fire.
Additionally, if you do decide to celebrate with consumer fireworks, please be respectful of neighbors. Fireworks can have an adverse effect on individuals who suffer from PTSD. You should also consider pets and livestock in the area as they are more sensitive to the loud noises, flashing lights and strong smells.
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, 230 people on average go to the emergency room every day with fireworks-related injuries in the month around Independence Day. More than 50 percent of the injuries are burns, and the body parts most commonly injured include the hands, fingers, head, face, eyes and ears.
Along with remaining safe, all Forsyth County public safety organizations ask that residents know and follow laws and regulations regarding fireworks, not only during holiday weekends, but year-round. O.C.G.A 25-10-2 stipulates the following:
- The use of consumer fireworks is permissible on July 3 and July 4, beginning at 10 a.m. and up to and including 11:59 p.m.
- Fireworks shall not be used within the right-of-way of any public road, street, highway or railroad.
- Fireworks shall not be used within any state, county or city park, historic site or recreational area without first obtaining a permit.
- It is unlawful for any person under the age of 18 to ignite consumer fireworks.
- It is unlawful for any person under the influence of alcohol or drugs to the extent less safe to ignite consumer fireworks.
For more safety information, updates and a look behind the scenes of the Forsyth County Fire Department, be sure to follow /ForsythCountyFireDepartment on Facebook.