This Independence Day weekend, firefighters will be on alert for firework related injuries and property damage.
“The combination of dry vegetation and enthusiastic patriots lighting fireworks can lead to situations that could easily get out of hand,” said Gwinnett County Fire and Emergency Services public information officer Capt. Tommy Rutledge in a released statement. “With the many opportunities to get together and view professional fireworks displays, why take any risks?”
Dry weather conditions and the potential for personal injury are two of the reasons officials urge citizens to attend public fireworks displays rather than hosting their own.
“Public fireworks displays are conducted by licensed and permitted professional pyrotechnicians. Public fireworks sites are approved through application to the probate court and inspected by the Gwinnett Fire Community Risk Reduction Division,” Rutledge said. “Enjoy the independence of our great country by celebrating safely and responsibly.”
Those who choose to shoot their own fireworks should be aware that in Georgia permitted fireworks 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.”
Fireworks such as firecrackers, skyrockets and cherry bombs are illegal to sell or use. Violations of the law can result in a maximum fine of $1,000 and up to one year in jail.
GCFES offers the following safety tips for those planning to use fireworks as part of their July 4th celebrations:
- Use only approved/legal fireworks.
- Purchase fireworks from a licensed and reputable vendor.
- Read the directions carefully and inspect the fireworks device for any defects.
- Keep a bucket of water, garden hose, and portable fire extinguisher close by.
- Ignite fireworks outdoors in an open area - away from buildings, vehicles, vegetation, or any other combustible material.
- Ignite only one fireworks device at a time and use a punk or fireplace lighter. Always keep a safe distance between yourself and the fireworks.
- Remember to allow enough room for the proper functioning of fireworks. Always ignite them on a firm-flat surface.
- Never give fireworks to a child. Children should be kept away from any firework area.
- Never buy fireworks from someone on the street.
- Never attempt to fix or re-ignite a malfunctioning fireworks device. Instead, discard them safely by soaking them in a bucket of water.
- Before going to bed at night, remember to inspect the area where fireworks are used. Make sure that no smoldering fires, hot embers, or sparks are present from falling fireworks debris. Wet down the area with a garden hose for added protection.
- Store any left over fireworks in a cool, dry place, out of the reach of small children or pets, and away from open flames. When discarding fireworks, remember to always soak them in a bucket of water for several hours before discarding them in the trash.
For additional information on approved/legal fireworks safety, please visit the Gwinnett Fire Community Risk Reduction website at www.gwinnettfiremarshal.com.