Authorities: Be safe with fireworks

ATLANTA – Georgia authorities are urging residents to be safe this New Year’s holiday when using legal fireworks.

“According to the National Fire Protection Association’s latest published data, U.S. hospital emergency rooms treated an estimated 8,800 people for fireworks related injuries,” Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner Ralph T. Hudgens said in a news release. “Approximately 39 percent of these injuries occurred among children age 14 years and younger.

“Yes, it is traditional to celebrate the coming of the New Year with fireworks,” Hudgens said. “However, I encourage our citizens to enjoy them safely by using legal devices as they mark the arrival of the New Year – 2012.”

Sparklers should only be used outdoors and in a clear area, Hudgens said.

According to Hudgens’ office, under state law all fireworks are illegal with this exception: “Wire or wood sparklers of 100 grams or less of mixture per item; other sparkling items which are non-explosive and non-aerial 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.”

Using illegal fireworks carries the potential of jail time and a fine.

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