Lowndes County officials urge residents to be considerate during July 4th celebrations

| June 29, 2017

LOWNDES Co. –Lowndes County would like to remind citizens to be a good neighbor while celebrating Independence Day.  In accordance with state law and local ordinances, fireworks are permitted in unincorporated Lowndes County from 10:00 a.m. until 12:00 midnight on July 4.

Since the legalization of rockets in Georgia, complaints regarding noise, property damage, and lost pets have risen significantly.  Lowndes County would like to remind citizens to be good neighbors.  Debris from fireworks may not litter surrounding properties, citizens should be mindful of local veterans or others that might be sensitive to noise, and pet owners should bring their pets inside during periods of ignition.  Lowndes County Code Enforcement will enforce litter violations as a result of fireworks debris falling on public property or private property outside.

According to Lowndes County interim Fire Chief, Ashley Tye, many violations stem from citizens igniting fireworks in subdivision streets or on other public property.  Fireworks may not be ignited on public property without proper permitting, violators should be reported by calling 911.  In 2016, several citizens narrowly avoided injury when a rocket ignited in the middle of a street launched parallel to the ground, instead of up into the air.

Since 2015, Lowndes County 911 records continue to reflect an increase in nuisance noise calls a few days before and a few days following New Year’s Eve, and the 4th of July.  While fireworks are allowed until 12:00 midnight on July 4, this extension does not apply to the weekend before the 4th, or any days following.  Lowndes County is home to a number of citizens that are sensitive to noise due to sensory processing challenges or the effects of post-traumatic stress syndrome.  These families may make special arrangements during times of expected ignition, in an effort to ease the discomfort of their loved ones.  Fireworks ignition during times other than what the law provides for can have a severe, negative impact on the mental health of some.

The law requires those selling, purchasing, and igniting fireworks to be at least 18 years of age.  Fireworks may not be used near or on public roads, streets, highways, or bridges, to include neighborhood streets.  Usage by any person under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol is prohibited.  Further, fireworks may not be ignited within any park, historic site or recreational area owned by a government authority without issuance of a special use permit.

Lowndes County Fire Rescue would like to encourage citizens to attend local public shows in lieu of igniting fireworks on private property.  In the event fireworks are enjoyed at home, please adhere to the following safety standards set forth by the National Council on Fireworks Safety:

  • Obey all local laws regarding the use of fireworks.
  • Know your fireworks; read the cautionary labels and performance descriptions before igniting.
  • A responsible adult SHOULD supervise all firework activities.  Never give fireworks to children.
  • Alcohol and fireworks do not mix.  Save your alcohol for after the show.
  • Wear safety glasses when shooting fireworks.
  • Light one firework at a time and then quickly move away.
  • Use fireworks OUTDOORS in a clear area; away from buildings and vehicles.
  • Never relight a “dud” firework.  Wait 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water.
  • Always have a bucket of water and charged water hose nearby.
  • Never carry fireworks in your POCKET or shoot them into METAL or GLASS containers.
  • Do not experiment with homemade fireworks.
  • Dispose of spent fireworks by wetting them down and place in a metal trash can away from any building or combustible materials until the next day.

Lowndes County Sheriff Ashley Paulk, is focusing enforcement on providing for the safety of all citizens during the 4th of July holiday period.  “The Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office will be out in force for the duration of the holiday period.  The observance and celebration of Independence Day should not be spoiled by insult or injury.  Citizens are encouraged to ignite fireworks in accordance with the law, drink responsibly, and designate a driver,” stated Sheriff Paulk.

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