Hudgens Urges Fireworks Safety for New Year’s

Georgia Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner Ralph Hudgens is urging residents to watch out for the dangers of fireworks during the New Year’s holiday.

According to Hudgens, the sale and individual use of any type of firework, except certain kinds of sparklers, is illegal in Georgia. The penalties are a maximum fine of up to $1,000 and/or a sentence of up to one year in jail.

Professional fireworks displays are permitted provided they are licensed through the local judge of probate court.

The Commissioner did say that certain sparklers are legal in Georgia. State law says that the definition of prohibited fireworks shall not include wire or wood sparklers of 100 grams or less of mixture per item; other sparkling items which are non-explosive and non-aerial 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.

While certain sparklers are legal, Hudgens urged people to use them carefully and only with adult supervision.

Hudgens said that according to the National Fire Protection Association, in 2010, U.S. hospital emergency rooms treated an estimated 8,600 people for fireworks related injuries, adding that the risk of fireworks injury was highest for children ages 5 through 14.

Commissioner Hudgens said to remind children that if they find unexploded fireworks, do not touch them, and immediately contact the local fire department.

Hudgens said that it is traditional to celebrate the coming of the New Year with fireworks and he encourages the state’s citizens to enjoy them safely by watching a professional display as they mark the arrival of 2013.