Know before you go: Local ordinances, safety tips for fireworks displays

Published 11:24 am Wednesday, July 3, 2024

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The sky will be lit up with fireworks displays on Thursday as the community celebrates Independence Day but for those interested in igniting their own show, it’s important to know what local city ordinances have to say. 

As previously reported, the city of Valley will be hosting its annual Fourth of July fireworks show for all to enjoy. However, many citizens will still be shooting their own light show.

In LaFayette, the use and storing of fireworks is prohibited unless the fire department provides a permit. 

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The city of Valley has an ordinance against the use of fireworks within city limits. On holidays, the city’s officers often understand that people will be out celebrating. However, the VPD asks citizens to be mindful of their neighbors and stop shooting fireworks soon after midnight. 

West Point/Troup County follows Georgia’s fireworks regulations which allow residents to shoot fireworks until 1 a.m. on holidays.

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), 18,500 fires are reported related to fireworks on an average yearly basis.

First, amateurs should have a safety perimeter, watch for dry weather or high winds and walk the perimeter afterward to look out for smoldering embers.

The use of sparklers should always be under adult supervision. Sparklers burn at 2000 degrees Fahrenheit and account for more than 25% of firework-related ER visits.

Citizens should be mindful of their surroundings while handling fireworks. Many times, errant fireworks can lead to property damage as well as bodily injury. A good rule of thumb is to move at least 150 feet away when using aerial fireworks. 

The direction of the fireworks is also important. Many errant fireworks displays have cost thousands of dollars in damage to homes, vehicles and wildlife areas. 

Perhaps worst of all, lit fireworks could inadvertently ignite a nearby cache and spread out of control. ‘Dud’ fireworks are still safety hazards and should be discarded by submerging them in water. People should also never handle fireworks while impaired by drugs or alcohol. 

The NFPA’s report on fireworks injuries by body part reports that injuries to hands and fingers are 28% of all wounds, while legs account for 24%. In case of emergency, keep a bucket of water nearby and light fireworks one at a time, then move away quickly. 

Perhaps most important of all is not to forget about your pets on the Fourth of July. The noise and lights of a light show can be extremely stressful for animals. 

Many dogs have escaped their owners’ yards or houses out of fear during a light show. To avoid this, people should be kept indoors with the curtains closed. Make sure animals have proper identification as well.