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Exercise SAFETY when using fireworks to ring in the New Year

By BECKY CRISSMAN
becky.crissman@cordeledispatch.com

CORDELE — Tomorrow is New Year’s Eve. All across the world people are preparing to celebrate the occasion in numerous ways. Some folks will welcome in the New Year from their couch, watching the ball drop in Times Square. Other folks will be out with friends to welcome in 2016. Once the clock strikes midnight, ushering in the New Year, others will celebrate by lighting up the night sky with a variety of fireworks.
Now for years people have shot off the fireworks in the state, having traveled over state lines to purchase the items, as they were not legal in Georgia. This kept the revenue out of the state.
Back in June, House Bill 110 was signed into law by Governor Nathan Deal, after passing the legislature. It allows for the sale and regulation of consumer fireworks in Georgia. While fireworks are a lot of fun, they can also be very dangerous if not handled properly. Studies show that approximately 46% reported injuries to the hands and fingers, another 17% sustained eye injuries, another 17% reported injuries to the head, face and ears while others claimed to sustain injuries to arms or legs.
Of course the danger of fireworks is not limited to just physical injury. They also pose a threat to homes and property if not handled properly. To keep your firework activity both fun and safe here are a few tips to follow;
• Always read and follow label directions.
• Do not allow children to handle fireworks alone. Adults should always be present.
• Only buy from reliable fireworks sellers.
• Ignite fireworks, OUTSIDE ONLY and in a clear area, away from buildings and vehicles.
• Keep water close by in case of emergency
• Never attempt to make your own fireworks
• Light only ONE firework at a time and light at arms length with a taper
• Stand back as soon as firework is lit
• Never re-ignite malfunctioning fireworks
• Never give fireworks to small children
• Store fireworks in a cool, dry place
• Dispose of fireworks properly
• Never throw fireworks at another person
• Never carry fireworks in your pocket
• Never shoot fireworks in metal or glass containers
• Ensure spectators remain a safe distance away when lighting fireworks
• Keep all pets indoors
• Do not DRINK and light fireworks
Have a Happy and Safe New Year!