As the Fourth of July approaches, some Columbia County residents will sneak across the state line to purchase fireworks from South Carolina retailers despite the fact all fireworks are illegal locally.
Georgia is one of nine states that ban all consumer fireworks including sparklers and other novelties.
But some just can't beat the urge to light up the night skies on the Fourth, Columbia County sheriff's Capt Steve Morris said.
"We usually get two to three dozen calls (about fireworks being shot off) during that period," Morris said.
Warnings for first offenses usually deters residents from relighting, Morris said. Subsequent offenses can result in a citation carrying a maximum of a year in jail and a $1,000 fine.
Capt. David Dickenson, of the Martinez Fire Department, said fires started from fireworks are not common but can be troublesome during dry seasons. He said he remembers fireworks igniting everything from small grass fires to a home fire in the last few years, he said.
Fireworks can be dangerous to more than property.
The risk of burn injuries, particularly eye and hand injuries associated with fireworks, goes up around July's patriotic weekend, Dr. Joseph M. Still, director of the Joseph M. Still Burn Center at Doctors Hospital, stated in a recent press release.
The Burn Center offered several tips for safe handling of fireworks should residents light them up:
lNever allow children to light or hold the fireworks and teach them to keep fireworks away from pets, which should be kept indoors.
lEye protection should always be worn while lighting fireworks, which should never be done indoors or while being held.
lFireworks should never be placed in glass containers such as bottles or under metal cans.
To reduce the risk of fire, the Burn Center suggests all used fireworks be placed in a bucket of water, and a water hose or fire extinguisher should be kept close to put out fires or stray sparks.
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