GA fireworks laws: Sparklers on short list of legal exceptions

Fireworks laws in Georgia
Published: Jun. 26, 2014 at 8:54 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 27, 2014 at 2:55 AM EDT
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Georgia fire officials will be out confiscating any illegal fireworks exploding in the air this holiday weekend. Individuals caught firing them could face up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine. 

While sparklers and similar non-explosive fireworks devices are legal in Georgia, Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner Ralph Hudgens is urging citizens to use extreme caution to avoid injuries when using legalized fireworks during the Fourth of July holiday.

"Even legal fireworks should only be used with close adult supervision," Hudgens said. "For the sake of safety and seeing a spectacular display, your best bet is to attend a professional show."

Hudgens also emphasizes the importance of parents to set a good example for kids. "[if gte mso 9]> Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE

According to Hudgens, consumers may be confused when they discover certain types of fireworks on sale at local retail outlets near our state's borders. Sparklers and fountains are not classified as fireworks by law and are legal and available for sale or use in Georgia.

The law states 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 nonaerial 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."

The Commissioner said sparklers can burn at temperatures as high as 1,800 degrees, and must be used properly and with adult supervision.

"Around 8,000 people are treated in hospital emergency rooms every year for fireworks-related injuries," Hudgens said, "and most of those incidents involve children."

He added that in a typical year, two-thirds to three-fourths of all fireworks injuries occur during the four-week period surrounding Independence Day.  On the Fourth of July itself, fireworks usually start more fires nationwide than all other causes combined.

The sale and use of most consumer types of fireworks, including firecrackers, skyrockets, and cherry bombs, is still illegal in Georgia and punishable by a maximum fine of up to $1,000 and up to one year in jail.

Fireworks laws for Columbus, GA:

Sec. 14-21. Firearms, fireworks, fires; discharging, lighting on streets, lots, etc.

(a) It shall be unlawful for any person to fire any gun or pistol in any of the streets or sidewalks of the city, or in any of the lots thereof, nor set off any firecrackers or other fireworks nor make any fire in any of the streets or sidewalks thereof, unless by permission of the chief of police; provided, however, this section shall not apply to military companies upon parade, nor be in force upon such public holidays as the commission may from time to time designate, nor to any city officer in the discharge of his official duties.

(b) The provisions of this section of the Code of Ordinances of Columbus, Georgia, shall not apply where permission for the discharge of such firearm has been given to the person discharging same by the owner of the property on which said firearm is discharged, and the firing is so controlled that no bullet, projectile or any matter so discharged shall cross the property line of the person granting such permission, and provided further, that no such firearm shall be fired within 300 feet of a private residence or any other building occupied by a person or persons, other than a residence or other building which is located on the property on which the firearm is discharged.

(Code 1914, § 723; Ord. No. 71-99, § 1, 4-27-71)

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