Keep your fireworks safe and legal

The Fourth of July holiday is here, and since many cities have canceled their festivals and fireworks due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many Georgians are planning their own fireworks displays. If you’re among them, remember the rules.

Georgia law permits the use of fireworks on July 3rd and 4th up until midnight. “If you go longer than that by two or three hours then we’re going to get a call and have to come out and break up your party and we don’t want to do that,” says Habersham County Sheriff Joey Terrell.

Fireworks are allowed from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on other days except New Year’s when the cutoff is extended until 1 a.m.

Fireworks sold by local stores and vendors who set up shop outside the stores are legal. “The fireworks you purchase through them, you can shoot,” Terrell says.

Safety tips

While fireworks “can be fun, they can also be dangerous,” warns Habersham County Emergency Services Director Chad Black.

He offers a list of fireworks Dos and Don’ts to help you protect yourself and others:

  • Don’t let kids light fireworks. This is something only adults should be doing.
  • Don’t let kids play with fireworks. Even sparklers can burn children.
  • Only buy approved and legal fireworks.
  • Only use fireworks as they’re recommended to be used.
  • Don’t put your head over fireworks as you’re lighting them. They can explode and severely burn you.
  • Don’t light multiple fireworks at one time. Light them one at a time.
  • Don’t use homemade fireworks.
  • Don’t light fireworks near structures.
  • If weather is dry, fireworks can cause woods or grass fires, so, keep a water supply nearby in case of fire.
  • Don’t attempt to relight fireworks that fail and don’t let kids run up on them.
  • Don’t pick up fireworks immediately after firing them. Soak them in water before disposing of them.

Make sure not to shoot fireworks onto neighboring property and be mindful of the impact they have on animals. Fireworks can frighten animals and cause them to run away or injure themselves. “It would be considerate and neighborly to let your friends and neighbors know in advance that you’ll be shooting fireworks,” offers Habersham County Animal Care and Control Director Madi Nix.

And when your celebrating is done, don’t forget the cleanup.

“The day after remember, all that fun you had the night before, all that trash needs to be picked up,” Terrell says, “because we want to pick up after ourselves and we want to be responsible.”

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