There will be, however, some residents who will also purchase sparklers from local vendors and fireworks across the state line in Alabama. Residents who fall into the do-it-yourself category should be aware of not only what kind of fireworks are legal in Georgia, but also important safety measures.
Georgia State law prohibits the sale and use of sky rockets, large firecrackers and bombs and hand-held sparklers more than 100 grams. Permitted fireworks include sparklers up to 100 grams each, “shower of sparks” pieces that are up to 200 grams total for multiple tube items or 75 grams for individual tube items, snakes, glow worms, snappers and party poppers.
Georgia law also prohibits the sale of fireworks to anyone under 18.
Brad Robinson, chief deputy for the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office, said the law basically prohibits any firework that explodes or lifts off the ground. Those caught with illegal fireworks face a misdemeanor charge and a fine that may exceed $100.
Because Georgia vendors are limited in what they can sell, fireworks businesses across the state line in Alabama typically receive steady business from West Georgia residents, according to one store manager, Jim Pirkle.
“In general, they [customers] mostly buy the pretty stuff, not the loud stuff,” he said.
Despite the limitations on what can be sold legally in Carroll County, vendors have been selling sparklers this week for profit, though at least one church has taken advantage of holiday sales to raise money.
Volunteers from West Side Full Gospel Church have been selling sparklers under a tent at the First Tuesday Mall on Bankhead Highway all week. The group has been selling combustibles to generate funds for their church while enriching customers’ Fourth of July experience.
“It [the fundraiser] is something different,” said church member Michael Whiteside. “Even if we don’t make any money, it’s still something great that brings the congregation together.”
Wideside and his wife, Carmen, have been the main coordinators behind the fundraiser. Though adult volunteers had to attend special seminars to participate, younger members of the church have also been helping out by holding road signs. The church’s teens have also worked in the evenings to guide customers through the different varieties of fireworks.
This year, the top seller is called “The Grand Forty-Niner.” All the variety pack, however, contain assorted sparklers only. Prices range from $2 per sparkler stick to $100 for big variety packs.
Whiteside has seen a lot of families come to purchase the sparklers.
“Families walk in and the kids just light up,” he said. “They just start grabbing.”
Carrollton Fire Chief Jimmy Bearden encouraged those who would rather not light the fuses themselves to attend the city’s fireworks show on Sunday, staged by a company with permits approved by the state fire marshal. The fire department will also be on hand closely monitoring the show, he said.
“We encourage people to go to the public display where safety is considered,” Bearden said. “The fireworks at the show go further with entertaining than individuals setting their own off.”
Each year around the July 4th holiday, the fire department receives two to three calls complaints of firework disruptions.
Personal safety is also an issue for residents who choose to stage their own fireworks show. Tanner Medical Center/Carrollton spokesman Tony Montcalm said the emergency room typically sees a few fireworks-related injuries during the Fourth holiday.
Tanner Medical Center provides several fireworks safety tips on its website, including:
• Before lighting fireworks, make sure the launch area is open, away from homes and people and not near flammable materials. Have water on hand in case of emergencies.
• Never re-light a dud. Instead, wait at least 20 minutes and then soak it in water.
• Take time to read the label and follow directions, and use the fireworks only as intended. Never shoot fireworks out of metal or glass containers.
• Don’t let children play with fireworks.
• Do not consume alcohol while using fireworks.
• Never carry fireworks in your pocket.
Robinson said all residents who choose to set off their own fireworks need to take extreme precaution to protect not only themselves, but others who may be watching.
“Our primary concern for everyone is safety,” he said. “Also, be courteous to the people around you and be aware that fireworks can be a fire hazard.”