Stay Safe with Fireworks This Fourth of July
If you live in Georgia and are getting ready to celebrate the Fourth of July, you have a one-up over people in many other states: You can legally purchase and use fireworks. In 2015, the state passed a law that made it legal to do so. Fireworks to include bottle rockets, Roman candles and mortars are permitted. That said, there are some limits as to where and when those fireworks can be lighted.
On any day of the year, you can wake up and light fireworks as early as 10 a.m. You’ll need to light your last one by 9 p.m. or face a citation. The state has made it legal to set them off until midnight on the Fourth of July and until 1:00 a.m. on January 1. Jurisdictions cannot make it illegal for their residents to use fireworks, but they can alter these times. Check with your local government office to be sure you are following the letter of the law.
If you choose to set off fireworks, you cannot do so on certain grounds. For example, you cannot set them off on highways or roads, in public parks or within 100 yards of prisons, nursing home or hospitals. You also have to be careful when setting fireworks off around areas where there is the danger of fire. You have to stay away from gas stations, electric substations, airports and water treatment facilities.
While you can purchase and use fireworks, it is illegal to do so if you are a minor, or if you are under the influence of alcohol. While experts recommend leaving larger fireworks to professionals, there are safety tips to follow if you will be setting them off at your family gathering.
1. Know What You Are Using
Fireworks all have certain things in common. They are ignited, they make noise and many spark. That said, they tend to behave in different manners. If you don’t know what you are lighting, you may not know where to set it or aim it, which could pose a danger to yourself or others. Always know what to expect from what you are lighting off.
2. Stay Away
Keep the area you are shooting off fireworks in free and clear of anything flammable and, perhaps more importantly, people. Don’t set off fireworks next to someone, and always aim them away from the crowd. (Yes, this includes Roman candle fights — just don’t do it!) Make sure that the people watching you know what is happening and understand to keep their distance.
3. Keep Water Handy
Keep a water source nearby. You can fill several buckets of water and have them sitting next to you or connect a hose and turn on the faucet. If one of the fireworks catches on or starts a fire, you want to be sure that you have a way to extinguish the blaze quickly.
4. Have a Stand
You need to have a stand or pit that you can set fireworks in. You should never hold on to a firework after it has been lit. Even if it’s not meant to completely blow up, accidents do happen. You don’t want to end up with a firework blowing up in your hand when you are only trying to entertain friends and family.
5. Don’t Drink and Light
If you’ve been drinking, avoid setting off fireworks. People who are intoxicated don’t always make the best decisions. Fireworks are nothing to play around with, meaning you have to take the responsibility seriously. If you are going to consumer alcoholic beverages, wait until after the fireworks are done.
6. Handling Duds
Duds are a disappointment. If you light a firework that doesn’t go off or goes out, don’t attempt to reignite it. A dud is a dud and attempting to blow it off a second time is incredibly risky. If a firework doesn’t go off, place it in a bucket of water.
7. Wet the Area
Fireworks involve, obviously, fire. To protect the immediate area from sparks or wanton debris, wet it down with a hose. If you neglect to do this, at least be sure to wet the area down after the show is complete. You want to be absolutely sure that you do this before you go to bed for the night. If you aren’t setting off the fireworks on your own property, offer this piece of advice to the property owner.
8. Soak Them
Speaking of water, make sure that you soak any fireworks or debris you intend to discard before tossing them in the trash. This will help to ensure that you don’t inadvertently start a fire in your trash bin and cause any damage you didn’t intend.
9. Store Them Properly
If you don’t blow off all your fireworks, store them in a cool, dry area away from any fire source. Keep them out of the reach of children and pets.
Fireworks can be dangerous, but they can also be fairly safe if they are handled, stored and used properly. Always purchase your fireworks from a licensed dealer and be sure that you know how to use them. If you have questions, ask! People visit the hospital every year due to fireworks injuries and you don’t want one of those people to be you or anyone you know.
If you experience a soft tissue injury due to a firework mishap, call our office. We will review the details of your accident and help you determine if you may have a successful case. Our team can help you make the best decisions for moving forward with a lawsuit. Call today to schedule your free case evaluation.