It's time to kiss good ol' 2017 goodbye.
Expanded sales of fireworks were made legal in Georgia in 2015, so we may see more people lighting up in celebration tonight. But if you're planning to kick off the new year with a bang, Georgia Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner Ralph Hudgens says he has one request: please be careful.
"The safest way to enjoy fireworks is to attend a public fireworks display," Hudgens said in a release. "Each year in the U.S., around 8,000 people are treated in hospital emergency rooms for fireworks-related injuries."
In Georgia, officials responded to nearly 160 fireworks-related incidents last year, including injuries and fires, the commissioner said.
Hudgens offered a list of tips for how to stay safe while using fireworks.
- Purchase fireworks from a licensed fireworks dealer.
- Observe all state laws regarding the use of fireworks.
- Read the labels carefully before igniting any fireworks.
- Ensure that an adult supervises all firework activities.
- Never allow children to ignite fireworks.
- Wear safety glasses when shooting fireworks.
- Light only one firework at a time.
- Only use fireworks outdoors in a clear area; away from buildings and vehicles.
- Never try to relight a firework.
- Have a garden hose or bucket of water nearby.
- Use caution with animals. Excitement, noise, and lights can cause fear and stress.
In Georgia, fireworks can be launched until 1 a.m on New Year's, and they must be bought by someone 18 years old or older. It is not legal to use them while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
In Alabama, fireworks are generally legal unless they are banned by individual communities. In Eufaula, Ala., for example, it is now illegal to possess fireworks within city limits.