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Monday, July 02, 2007

Be Safe, Responsible In Using Fireworks This July 4th

Extremely dry conditions increase risks, require additional caution

With Georgia in the grips of a major drought, the City of Milton urges citizens to be particularly diligent in practicing safe, responsible use of fireworks such as sparklers and other non-explosive fireworks that are legal in the state, during Fourth of July celebrations next week.Public Safety Director Chris Lagerbloom urges residents to make plans to attend a public fireworks display rather than use fireworks at home.

“The extremely dry conditions we are experiencing throughout the region certainly increases the risks associated with fireworks,” Lagerbloom said. “We prefer that people not use fireworks at home, but if you do, please exercise the utmost caution to prevent a tragedy of any kind.”Lagerbloom also notes that residents need to abide by the city’s noise ordinance when it comes to fireworks as well as holiday parties in general. That ordinance restricts noise in residential areas to a maximum of 65 decibels between 7:30 a.m. and 10 p.m., and 60 decibels between 10 p.m. and 7:30 a.m.

“And of course, if you consume any amount of alcohol at all, don’t get behind the wheel,” he stressed.In addition to the dangers associated with the dry conditions, personal safety is a major issue when it comes to fireworks. Approximately 7,000 people are treated in hospital emergency rooms every year for fireworks related injuries and most of those incidents involve children, according to Georgia Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner John Oxendine.Those who choose to use fireworks are urged to follow the safety tips below, provided by Oxendine’s
office and the National Council on Fireworks Safety:

Always read and follow label directions
Have an adult present
Buy from reliable sellers
Use outdoors only
Always have water handy (a garden hose and a bucket)
Never experiment or make your own fireworks
Light only one firework at a time
Never relight a "dud" firework (wait 15 to 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water)
Never give fireworks to small children
If necessary, store fireworks in a cool and dry place
Dispose of fireworks properly by soaking them in water and then disposing of them in your trash can
Never throw or point fireworks at other people
Never carry fireworks in your pocket
Never shoot fireworks in metal or glass containers
The shooter should always wear eye protection and never have any part of the body over the firework
Stay away from illegal explosives

Remember to dial 911 for any emergencies Fireworks are unpredictable and injuries can occur even if a person is careful or is under supervision. The best way to avoid injury is to not use fireworks. For additional safety tips and information, visit the National Council on Fireworks Safety at http://www.fireworksafety.com/ and the Georgia Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner at http://www.inscomm.state.ga.us/.
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