Firework safety on New Year’s

Published 6:50 pm Thursday, December 28, 2017

On Sunday and Monday, we will celebrate the end of the old year and the beginning of a new year, but as we celebrate what good is (hopefully) to come, it is important to take a moment to recall basic safety tips surrounding fireworks.

Consumer fireworks were legalized in Georgia on July 1, 2015. According to the Office of Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner Ralph Hudgens, “consumer fireworks are defined as any small fireworks device designed primarily to produce visible or audible effects by combustion as approved by the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission. Examples of legal fireworks are firecrackers, skyrockets, sparklers and similar devices.” On New Year’s, it is legal to light fireworks until 1 a.m.

The office encourages anyone planning to use fireworks to read and follow label directions, only use fireworks outdoors, never re-ignite a malfunctioning firework, only light one firework at a time, never give fireworks to small children, never throw fireworks at another person and be sure to have water handy.

It is illegal to light fireworks within 100 yards of a hospital, nursing home, prison, gas station or gas refinery.

Now all of this probably seems obvious, but many people forget that sparklers do count as fireworks, so young children should not be allowed to hold them. According to, sparklers can burn at 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit — or as hot as a blow torch — and account for 79 percent of injuries to children under 5 years old.

Having easily accessible water also seems like a no brainer. However, remember if you disconnected your hose in preparation for the freezing temperatures it will take several minutes to reconnect it. Those few minutes may not seem like a long time, until you have a bad firework burning a hole in your front yard. So, connect that hose, or better yet, fill a bucket with water, so that you can have that on hand just in case.

Finally, make sure to pour water over any fireworks that burnout before discarding them to prevent trash fires, and if something does go wrong, remember to call 911.

We hope that everyone has a safe and fun new year.