With summer here, many of the big celebrations include fireworks. I mean, what would the 4th of July be without them?!
But fireworks can be very dangerous. In 2020, there were over 10,000 injuries due to fireworks, and more than 75% of those required going to the emergency room. It's also interesting to note that 71% of those injured were men, so guys, be careful!
Below are some of the current laws in Georgia and some information on when & where you can enjoy your holiday fireworks, but when in doubt, it is always best to check with your local law enforcement or community.
When Can You Shoot Fireworks?
For those of us who live in Georgia, being able to legally shoot fireworks is relatively new. They were completely banned up until 2005 and the regulations have been loosening up little by little through the years. The current laws in Georgia state that you can shoot fireworks any day of the year from 10 am-11:59 pm unless your local ordinances prohibit them. However, there are some exceptions no matter what local laws say.
Below are some holidays where using fireworks is legal until 11:59 p.m. regardless of local ordinances:
- Memorial Day (the last Saturday and Sunday in May, but not the Monday of Memorial Day)
- Independence Day (July 3 and 4 until midnight)
- Labor Day (first Monday in September)
- New Year’s Eve (Dec. 31 through 1 a.m. on Jan. 1)
Where Can You Shoot Fireworks?
According to the state’s website, it is illegal to use fireworks within 100 yards of any of these places:
- Electric plant
- Water treatment plant
- Waste-water treatment plant
- Gas station
- Electric substation
- Jail or prison
- Nursing home
- Other healthcare facility
It is also illegal to use fireworks within state property, including parks, historic sites and recreational areas.
Georgia law also prohibits a person from using fireworks while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Also, if you live in or are visiting a private community, it’s a good idea to check with the community before shooting fireworks. Private communities can set their own rules about fireworks use.
If It’s Dry, Fireworks Don’t Fly
The Governor may ban the use of fireworks in any area of Georgia that is under drought (as defined by a measure of 700 or higher on the Keetch-Byram Drought Index).
You don’t have to wait for an official declaration, though. If local conditions are dry, err on the side of caution. You’d probably rather call off fireworks than call in the fire department.
Also, keep in mind that fireworks can be frightening for many people and pets, which is why the times and locations for using them are regulated. It is always better to be safe than sorry!
I hope that all of you have a safe and wonderful summer, no matter how you choose to celebrate it!