Celebrate safely this Fourth of July with our Forsyth County fireworks tips

Kimberly Bond

(Forsyth County, GA) For many families, no Independence Day celebration is complete without a fantastic fireworks show. There are many professional displays around the county every year for residents and their guests to enjoy. However, if you choose to get in on the celebration by shooting off your own fireworks, check out our tips to make sure you don’t wind up in any legal hot water - or the Northside Forsyth ER.

Using fireworks safely and legally keeps celebrations fun.Photo byKristian Løvstad/UnsplashonUnsplash

Keep it legal

Before you start planning your fireworks display, make sure you’re up to date on all the rules and regulations. In Forsyth County, local rules permit the use of use fireworks until 11:59 p.m. on July 3 and July 4 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 healthcare facility
  • Within any park, historic site, recreational area, or other state property
  • While under the influence of alcohol or drugs

Regardless of any other rules, Forsyth County does not allow residents to use fireworks within the right-of-way of any public road, street, highway, or railroad. Also, remind kids at your celebration that you must be at least 18 to purchase and use fireworks.

The Forsyth County Sheriff's Office shared this information on their Facebook page to remind residents of some important local rules.Photo byForsyth County Sheriff's Office

Keep it safe

Fireworks are so fun to watch that it’s easy to forget that they can also cause serious injury or even death. According to the National Fire Protection Association, U.S. emergency rooms treated approximately 11,500 people for fireworks-related injuries in 2021. Almost a quarter of the injured were children under the age of 15.

Fireworks also started more than 12,000 fires in 2021, resulting in $59 million in property damage and many injuries. Firefighters and other first responders must deal with fireworks-related calls, diverting resources for other emergencies.

The risk is so serious that even the Department of Homeland Security has issued safety tips this year. Here are their top 10 tips:

  1. Always use fireworks outside and have a bucket of water/hose nearby in case of accidents.
  2. Designate a safety perimeter. If you have ground-based fireworks like a fountain, spectating from at least 35 feet away is best. For aerial fireworks, you’ll want everyone to move back to a distance of around 150 feet.
  3. Ditch faulty fireworks. Sometimes fireworks don’t go off, but duds always pose a risk. The important thing to know is that you should never try to relight or approach a failed firework. Let duds sit for 5 -10 minutes before you put them in a bucket of water. This can prevent injury from a delayed explosion and disarm the firework permanently so you can safely dispose of it.
  4. Supervise children when they are handling sparklers. Sparklers burn at about 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit—hot enough to melt some metals. Sparklers can quickly ignite clothing, and children have received severe burns from dropping sparklers on their feet or touching body parts.
  5. Don’t forget about your pets! Fireworks can be extremely stressful for pets, but there are ways to help reduce their fear and anxiety. Keep your pets indoors. Close the curtains or blinds and turn on the TV or radio to provide some distraction. Treat toys filled with their favorite food (frozen pumpkin puree, peanut butter, and apple sauce are good options) may also help keep their minds busy and distract them from the fireworks.
  6. Soak both spent and unused fireworks in water for a few hours before discarding.
  7. Never place a part of your body directly over a firework or hold a firework in your hand when lighting. To safely light fireworks, make sure they are secured on the ground away from people and animals and use a stem lighter such as a grill lighter.
  8. Only light one firework at a time. Lighting multiple fireworks at the same time increases the risk of accidents occurring from the fuse burning faster than designed.
  9. Avoid alcohol consumption when handling or using fireworks. This should be pretty self-explanatory.
  10. Consider safe alternatives to fireworks such as party poppers, bubbles, silly string, or glow sticks.

Be a good neighbor

Sticking with these rules can help keep your celebration from becoming a disaster. But keep in mind the old adage; just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should.

Not every Forsyth County resident is a fan of the long-lasting fireworks displays on private property. Every year, local social media groups are flooded with complaints from people with young kids or animals that become stressed by the constant noise caused by fireworks explosions. Horse owners have pleaded with their neighbors in past years to be considerate since the large animals can be driven frantic by the noise and lights.

“We encourage FOCO 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 home and keeping a safe distance from spectators,” said the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Department on their social media page.

How will you be celebrating the 4th of July 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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