Fourth of July almost always means picnics, pool parties and some type of fireworks. Whether attending a fireworks show or using sparklers at home, safety should be a number one concern.
Firecrackers, torpedoes, skyrockets and Roman candles are not to be manufactured, sold or used in Georgia. Georgia law permits the use of wood or wire sparklers of 100 grams or less, trick noise makers and poppers and snappers of all kinds. Safe and sane fireworks sold in stores are legal, also.
“If it explodes or goes in the air, it’s no good,” Lt. Del Armstrong of the LaGrange Police Department said.
According to Armstrong, illegal fireworks are a noise violation and most importantly, can be very dangerous.
“Things are dry right now and any small fire could start something,” he said.
Americans use more than six times the amount of fireworks now than they did less than forty years ago. In that same time period, fireworks-related injuries in the United States plummeted from 38.3 to 3.3 per 100,000 pounds consumed, according to the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission.
According to the American Pyrotechnics Association, sparklers should be lit one at a time. They should only be used outdoors on flat, hard surfaces in clear areas and away from houses, buildings and dry grass.
Never try to relight sparklers that do not ignite. Instead, wait 15 to 20 minutes before approaching them, soak them with water and throw them away.
According to the APA, alcohol and sparklers do not mix.
The Better Business Bureau, with information obtained from the National Council on Fireworks Safety, encourages a Fourth of July free of any harm or hospital visits by recommending a designated shooter. When children are involved, the shooter should be the parent. If not, parents and caretakers should always closely supervise teens using any type of sparklers.
“These can be dangerous, especially if children are left unsupervised,” Armstrong said.
The shooter should read labels, wear safety goggles and have a hose or water bucket nearby. First-time shooters should note that sparklers are to be used standing still and will remain hot long after the flame has gone out. Shooters should be sure to drop spent sparklers in a bucket of water, the Better Business Bureau said.