Fireworks+Safety = A Happy Independence Day!
Parades, homemade ice cream, apple pie, and fireworks. For most of us, the July 4th Independence Day celebration is a day of tradition, and fireworks are a big part of the day.
Prior to 2015, fireworks sales were prohibited in Georgia, which resulted in Georgia residents traveling across state lines to fireworks vendors in Alabama, Florida, South Carolina, or Tennessee to purchase fireworks for their celebrations.
However, in 2015 Georgia lawmakers passed legislation to allow the sale of sparklers, roman candles, and bottle rockets within the state to people 18 years of age and older. The law also places a few restrictions on the lighting of fireworks. For example, the law says fireworks may only be lit during certain hours, and they cannot be lit near gas stations, nuclear power plants, roadways, hospitals, nursing homes, or prisons.
The popularity of consumer fireworks continues to grow each year. According to the American Pyrotechnics Association (APA), “consumer fireworks retailers are reporting brisk fireworks sales numbers as the busy selling season officially gets off to a start and we predict revenues could exceed $900 million for the 2018 fireworks season,” said Julie L. Heckman, Executive Director of the APA. In 2017, American consumers spent approximately $885 million on fireworks for the Fourth of July, a $60 million increase over fireworks sales in 2016.
Experts Urge Safety
When Georgia lawmakers loosened restrictions on fireworks sales, they emphasized that the safest way to watch fireworks will always be viewing a professional show. After all, the science of fireworks involves igniting gunpowder and burning small bits of metal to produce color and sparkle—a recipe for pain if precautions are not taken.
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), the majority of fireworks-related injuries occur in June and July each year. In 2016, 68 percent of fireworks injuries happened between June 18 and July 18. Fireworks were involved in an estimated 11,100 injuries treated in emergency departments during 2016. The vast majority of fireworks-related injuries in the U.S. each year result from the misuse of fireworks.
The APA’s Safety & Education Foundation wants the public to enjoy fireworks safely, which is why the organization has published resources to emphasize safety for consumers who are planning a backyard fireworks celebration for the Fourth of July, since even legal fireworks can cause injury if they’re not used properly.
One resource is a brief animated safety video on YouTube. The other is a list of tips for fireworks consumers, including:
- Only buy legal consumer fireworks from a licensed store, stand, or tent. They typically have brightly colored labels with the manufacturer’s name, directions, and warnings.
- Read and follow the directions on the labels.
- Always wear safety glasses when igniting fireworks.
- Never carry a firework in your pocket or shoot fireworks from a metal or glass container.
- Don’t aim or throw fireworks at another person.
- Always have a sober adult in charge and never give fireworks, even sparklers, to young children.
- Keep spectators at a safe distance.
- Only use fireworks outdoors away from buildings on a flat, level, hard, fireproof surface that is free from debris.
- Light only one firework at a time and never approach or reignite a firework that doesn’t light the first time.
- Never place any part of your body over a firework device.
- Have a working garden hose or bucket of water handy.
- When finished, allow used fireworks to stand for at least 20 minutes, submerge in water, drain, place in a plastic bag, and dispose outside or in a covered trash can.
If backyard fireworks are not in your plan, check out one of these amazing fireworks shows planned for the West Georgia area:
June 30, 2018: Prime of Paulding Red, White and Boom Expo & Fireworks
Ben Hill Strickland Park, Hiram
July 3, 2018: Tallapoosa Fireworks at Dark
Helton Howland Park, Tallapoosa
July 3, 2018: The 13th Annual Fireworks Display Extravaganza
Villa Rica Civic Center & Sports Complex, or V-Plex, Villa Rica.
July 4: Concert and Fireworks
Carrollton City Schools Complex, Carrollton
July 4: Party in the Park & 4th of July Fireworks
Hunter Park, Douglasville
From your friends at Duffey Realty, have a fun, safe, and blessed Independence Day!
SOURCE: American Pyrotechnics Association