Keep Forsyth County Fourth of July celebrations safe with these fireworks safety tips

Kimberly Bond

A show-stopping fireworks display is an Independence Day tradition. In the Cumming area, many neighborhoods and organizations will be hosting professional fireworks shows for families to enjoy. However, some individuals like to get in the spirit with their own fireworks displays – even if their neighbors don’t always approve.

“Fireworks displays are a part of many Independence Day celebrations, but they are also very unpredictable, and accidents can occur with little to no warning,” said Forsyth County Fire Department Division Chief Jason Shivers. “The best way to avoid injury is to remain alert and to leave the fireworks displays to trained professionals.”

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Make sure your fireworks plans won't get you in trouble with the law.(Photo/Forsyth County Sheriff's Department)

If you plan to set off your own fireworks this year, check out our tips below to help make sure your display will be legal and safe.

Are fireworks legal in Forsyth County?

Before you start planning your fireworks display, make sure you aren’t running afoul of any rules. It is legal to use fireworks in Georgia daily between 10 a.m. and 11:59 p.m. However, local authorities can create their own rules about fireworks usage, as long as it's part of a general noise ordinance and not directed only at fireworks.

For Independence Day celebrations, Georgians may use fireworks until 11:59 pm on July 3 and July 4 regardless of local rules except within 100 yards of the following place types:

  • Electric plant
  • Water treatment plant
  • Waste-water treatment plant
  • Gas station
  • Refinery
  • Electric substation
  • Jail or prison
  • Helipad
  • Hospital
  • Nursing home
  • Other health care facility
  • Within any park, historic site, recreational area, or other state property
  • While under the influence of alcohol or drugs

You may not use fireworks within the right-of-way of any public road, street, highway, or railroad. Remember that you must be at least 18 years old to purchase and use fireworks.

Keep it safe

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, an average of 230 people visit the emergency room every day because of fireworks-related injuries in the weeks around Independence Day. Over half of these injuries are from burns, and many are serious. Commonly injured body parts include the hands, fingers, head, face, eyes, and ears.

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Take fireworks safety seriously to prevent burns and other injuries.(Photo/U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission; Forsyth County Fire Department)

To help prevent a fireworks-related injury from ruining your celebration, the Forsyth County Fire Department shared the following safety tips:

  • Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks. Only those 18 and older can legally use fireworks in Georgia.
  • Avoid buying fireworks that are packaged in brown paper. This is often a sign that the fireworks were made for professional displays and could pose a danger to consumers.
  • Always have an adult supervise fireworks activities, even sparklers, which burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees.
  • Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse.
  • Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not ignited fully.
  • Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
  • Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire or other mishap.
  • Light fireworks one at a time, then move back quickly.
  • Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers.
  • Douse spent fireworks with plenty of water before discarding [them] to prevent a trash fire.

Be considerate

Finally, the Forsyth County Fire Department offers a reminder that if you do decide to celebrate with consumer fireworks, please be respectful of neighbors. Fireworks displays can be challenging for people who have PTSD. They can disrupt young children’s sleep schedules – and all parents know how exasperating that can be. Pets and livestock are also sensitive to loud noises, flashing lights, and strong smells from fireworks.

The Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office agrees, saying “We encourage our citizens to be mindful of their surroundings when setting off fireworks; such as families with small children, homes with combat veterans, homes with animals, shooting fireworks in the direction of another house, and keeping a safe distance from spectators.”

How are you celebrating Independence Day this year? Comment below or email kbondwriter@gmail.com to let us know.

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I'm a writer, editor, and journalist with a background in law and science. I love writing about interesting local places and events in Forsyth County, especially new businesses or family-friendly experiences.

Cumming, GA
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