By Mr. David M White (Army Medicine)June 25, 2015
Although the use of fireworks on Fort Gordon remains prohibited, as of July 1, certain fireworks are now legal in the state of Georgia. Legal fireworks include sparklers and similar non-explosive fireworks. The sale and use of most types of fireworks, including firecrackers, skyrockets and cherry bombs, are still illegal in Georgia and punishable by a maximum fine of up to $1,000 and up to one year in jail.
Since the law goes into effect so near the Fourth of July holiday, businesses may not be able to meet the regulatory requirements to actually sell fireworks until after the 239th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence has well passed.
Retailers must first pay a $5,000 fee and apply for a state license through the Georgia Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner's office. Only then can a business apply for a local business license and have the retail building inspected by the municipal fire department to ensure all pertinent safety codes have been met.
Once fireworks are at home, however, the responsibility for safely using fireworks lies with the homeowner. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, between June 22 and July 22 of each year, about 200 people go to the emergency room every day with injuries from fireworks. CPSC also reports that, in 2012, illegal and homemade fireworks were involved in six fireworks-related deaths.
Safety tips for using legal fireworks, according to Georgia's Office of Insurance and Safety Fire commissioner, include:
• Always read and follow label directions
• Only use fireworks outdoors
• Never experiment or attempt to make your own fireworks
• Only light one firework at a time
• Never re-ignite malfunctioning fireworks
• Fireworks should only be used with close adult supervision
• Never give fireworks to small children
• Be sure to have water or a fire extinguisher handy
• Never throw fireworks at another person
Or take all the guesswork out of fireworks, and bring a lawn chair to Barton Field at 3 p.m., July 2 for Fort Gordon's July 4th Celebration. The band starts at 7 p.m., and fireworks will be touched off at dusk.