Fireworks a popular draw as 4th nears

Published 10:01 am Monday, July 2, 2012

For once, the old saying, it’s “hotter than the 4th of July” seems false, because it doesn’t seem as if it could get any hotter.

But that’s not stopping people from making preparations for their 4th of July celebrations, including picking up sparklers and other legal fireworks in Georgia.

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“We just started last week and we’ve had a steady stream of customers, although we’re expecting sales to pick up even more,” said Tony Slaughter, who was manning the fireworks tent in the Wal-Mart parking lot on Monday.

Slaughter and his fellow salesman, Chris Smith, are keeping busy, but trying to stay cool as they sell fireworks from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. each day.

In Georgia, aerial fireworks are prohibited, and the amount of powder in stationary fireworks is limited. But there’s still a lot of variety to be found, Slaughter said.

Along with traditional sparklers, which can be purchased from 14” to 32” in length, there’s also some new sparklers that burn red, yellow or green. There’s also a taller sparkler which has multiple-colored flames, including purple, as it burns down.

The TNT fireworks tent at Wal-Mart is holding a drawing for a fireworks package valued at $170 on Tuesday afternoon at 4 p.m. People who stop by before the drawing can enter to win it.


Use caution with fireworks

Georgia Insurance, Safety and Fire Commissioner Ralph Hudgens reminds Georgians that sparklers, although legal in Georgia, should be used properly outdoors in a clear area and with adult supervision. If a legal device has failed to perform properly, do not attempt to re-ignite it.

Doyle Welch, fire prevention major at Bainbridge Public Safety, said it’s a good idea to keep a bucket of water or water hose close by in case sparks from legal fireworks catch dry grass on fire.

Sparklers can burn at temperatures as high as 1,800 degrees, Major Welch said. Fireworks that are illegal in Georgia, such as ones that launch into the air, can burn and badly injure people who handle them improperly, with kids especially at risk because of their inexperience, Welch said.


Prohibited fireworks

Roman candles, cherry bombs, firecrackers, skyrockets and other fireworks are still illegal in the state.

Georgia law defines prohibited fireworks to include all fireworks, with the exception of: “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.”