What Fireworks are legal? Also, here's some safety tips
By JOHN A. WINTERS
Editor’s note: With a bit of humor mixed in, Newnan Times-Herald news reporter John Winters gives a serious look at fireworks purchase and use in Georgia before the upcoming Fourth of July holiday.
Your attention, please.
In a nutshell, don’t play chicken with someone else by seeing who can hold a lit firework the longest; only use fireworks outdoors; never relight a “dud” firework; safety glasses are a good idea or you can go blind; do not look down at a lit firework wondering why it hasn’t gone off yet (see previous guideline); always have water ready; and alcohol and fireworks don’t mix.
The longstanding guideline of only using fireworks under adult supervision currently is under review to add the word “mature” as studies have found sometimes teen-agers and kids are safer with fireworks than adults.
Wednesday is the day we celebrate the adoption of our Declaration of Independence and our independence from those guys across the pond with the funny accents.
It’s also the day of picnics, no mail service, freaked out pets and, yes, fireworks.
And the big question is always the same — what’s legal?
Here’s what Georgia Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner Ralph Hudgens says is allowed:
“Wire or wood sparklers of 100 grams or less of mixture per item; other sparkling items which are non-explosive and nonaerial 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.”
Now that we’ve made that clear as mud, let’s try again.
If it goes “pop,” or “whee” or makes a “sizzle” sound, you’re probably OK. It if goes BOOM!!! or KAPOW!!! and people are all “oohing” and “aahing,” well, probably not.
Basically, it’s legal to use fireworks that are sold in local stores or in the tents you see popping up at various locations around town this time of the year. It’s probably illegal to buy fireworks from a guy on a side road in the back of a semi-trailer with Alabama license tags.
So, yes on sparklers and non-explosive fireworks, no on most consumer fireworks, and no on firecrackers, skyrockets and cherry bombs.
In all seriousness, use common sense.
“Around 8,000 people are treated in hospital emergency rooms every year for fireworks-related injuries,” Hudgens said. “And most of those incidents involve children.”
And on the Fourth of July, fireworks usually start more fires nationwide than all other causes combined, he added.
So enjoy the Fourth, but do so in a way that gives our local city and county firefighters a break and doesn’t involve a call to Coweta 911.
Haralson in the southeast corner of Coweta will hold its July 4th celebration a day early, on July 3, with a parade and fireworks show at the corner of Shaddix and Line Creek roads around dusk.
And the city of Newnan’s annual parade will begin at 6 p.m. the Fourth of July downtown. Afterward, the Newnan Rotary Club will host its annual family entertainment leading to the evening’s community fireworks show at the recently completed Drake Stadium on the campus of Newnan High School off LaGrange Street. The fireworks show will start around 9 p.m. or soon after dusk.