Noise and safety complaints are at the top of the list when it comes to the Athens Fourth of July fireworks displays and since last year, new regulations have been put into place to assure Georgians are able to enjoy pyrotechnics safely.
“In 2015, a new state law allowed the sale of exploding fireworks in Georgia by licensed dealers. Prior to last year, only sparklers and similar fireworks were legal in the state,” according to an article by the Athens Banner-Herald. “Subsequent to the new law becoming effective, considerations of public safety arose after some fireworks started fires in drier areas around Georgia, and in many jurisdictions, people complained about late-night and early-morning fireworks noise.”
The state of Georgia already has several stipulations in place when it comes to setting off fireworks, but several more were added this year in regards to when they can be set off and where.
“The laws state fireworks cannot be sold to anyone under the age of 18, and anyone buying fireworks must provide identification. Fireworks cannot be used indoors or within the right-of-way of a road, railroad, or other transportation infrastructure,” the ABH reports. “Under the new law, fireworks may be used between 10 a.m. and 9 p.m., but only on July 3-4, the time limit extends to 11:59 p.m. Additionally, fireworks are prohibited within 100 yards of a jail, power, electric, or water plant, historic site, hospital, park, or other public facility. Permits to use fireworks in locations such as parks may be issued by the proper authorities upon request.”
Pyrotechnics and drinking don’t mix. It’s illegal to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs while setting off fireworks. And many fireworks companies also suggest contacting neighbors prior to setting off fireworks, especially if a veteran lives nearby as it can exasperate anxiety and symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.
“Pet owners should also be aware of fireworks displays in their area, as animals can be scared by the noise and may run away from home,” according to the ABH article. “Farm animals may also be spooked during fireworks celebrations.”
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