Georgia’s laws regarding fireworks have changed a lot recently. In 2015, Georgia lawmakers legalized the sale and use of certain specific fireworks in the state of Georgia. Then, earlier this year, the Georgia State Senate amended and passed (sending it back to the House for approval, House Bill 419, which allows local municipalities to regulate the purchase and use of fireworks. That law, which is aimed at curbing noise through local regulation, goes into effect on July 1. Now that we Georgians are free to buy and use fireworks on specific holidays, here’s a short list of simple steps to take to make sure everyone enjoys the show and nobody gets hurt.
Kids under 18 should not be allowed to handle, light, or play with fireworks. Make sure that there’s always an adult present when fireworks are being used, and that a responsible adult is the only person actually lighting any fuses.
In some states, if a person is injured by a firework, the individual who set off the firework can be held liable for such an injury. Making sure a responsible adult is in charge of all fireworks – big or small – can help avoid any such trouble.
From a distance
There’s a reason fireworks are banned in 18 states. Fireworks are nothing more than small explosives. Explosives are designed to do two things: make noise and break things. The noise is usually part of the fun (though it’s also the point of the latest Georgia law), but the breaking of things is not what anyone wants to endure, especially during a fun holiday celebration.
Therefore, make sure all children are kept a safe distance away from where the fireworks are being ignited. How far is a safe distance? A good rule of thumb is at least twice the distance that the firework is designed to fly on its own. That distance will be completely different, and perhaps even unknown, for every different firework. But don’t let that lack of knowledge stop you from being safe. Find a large open space, designate the ignition area, and keep all children under 18 away from that area.
The most common injury when it comes to fireworks is to the hand of a person holding a firework. That should tell everyone something: don’t hold fireworks when the fuse is lit. That may sound common sense, but the desire to hold and throw lit fireworks somehow overcomes the understanding that one does not know the length of the fuse.
The simple rule is, do not hold any explosive firework once it’s lit. Instead, place the firework on the ground (or designated ignition surface), and then light it. If you’re holding it in your hand, two things could very easily happen. First, you might drop it, and then it will shoot in the random direction in which it lands. And, second, you might not be able to get it out of your hand before it explodes. Either way, do not hold fireworks.
Enjoy the Show
The goal is for everyone to enjoy watching the fireworks show. This Independence Day celebration, make sure you – and others around you – follow these simple list things to do and not do with fireworks. If something does go awry, please call Miller & Wynn at 770-942-2720.