VFD Urges Citizens to Play it Safe this Fourth of July Holiday

| June 20, 2015


VALDOSTA — Effective July 1, the sale of consumer fireworks will be legal in Georgia, and with bigger explosives comes bigger risks. The City of Valdosta urges citizens to be aware of these risks and employ the proper safety measures to prevent harm to themselves and those around them.

These consumer fireworks must comply with certain construction and composition requirements set out by federal regulations in order to be sold in Georgia and include some of the larger fireworks sold in some of our neighboring states which, prior to this new law, have not been sold in the Georgia.

Up to now, only smaller fireworks such as sparklers and smoke bombs have been legal in Georgia, but House Bill 110 will allow bigger fireworks such as bottle rockets and launchers starting in July, just in time for Independence Day celebrations.

Capt. James Clinkscales, Fire Marshal of the Valdosta Fire Department, says the newly legal fireworks are more dangerous, raising the possibility of fires and injury due to the misuse of these explosives.

“We can’t stop citizens from using fireworks, but we urge citizens to use them properly and safely,” Clinkscales said.

Whenever handling fireworks or accompanying someone who is doing so, remember these safety guidelines to ensure a fun and incident-free celebration:

Always use fireworks according to the manufacturer requirements listed on the package.
Always have water and/or a fire extinguisher on hand.
Never relight a firework that has gone out; instead douse it in water and discard the device.
Never aim fireworks at people, vehicles or buildings.
Do no wear loose-fitting clothing when handling fireworks, because such clothes can catch fire in the process.
Never allow children to handle fireworks.
Always stand 50 to 100 feet away from buildings when using fireworks.
Never shoot fireworks within 100 yards of a gas station, which is illegal.
Call 9-1-1 in the event of an emergency.

Also know that the sale of fireworks to anyone under the age of 18 is illegal and can be punished with a $2,500 fine. Fireworks may be used from 10 a.m. to midnight on normal days, and from 10 a.m. to 2 a.m. on holidays (July 3-4, Dec. 31 and Jan. 1).

Rather than endure the risks, VFD Fire Chief Freddie Broome encourages citizens in our community to enjoy the Fireworks Spectacular event hosted by the Valdosta-Lowndes Parks and Recreation Authority that will take place near the Valdosta Mall, on July 4, at nightfall.

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