Georgia Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner Ralph Hudgens is urging parents to protect their children — and themselves — from the dangers of fireworks during this New Year’s holiday.
Hudgens said that while it is traditional to celebrate the coming of the New Year with fireworks, he urged the state’s citizens to enjoy them safely by watching a professional display as they mark the arrival of 2014.
He noted that the sale and individual use of any type of firework, except certain kinds of sparklers, is illegal in Georgia.
The penalties are a maximum fine of up to $1,000 and/or a sentence of up to one year in jail.
Professional fireworks displays are permitted, provided they are licensed through the local judge of probate court.
The Commissioner did note that while those certain kinds of sparklers are legal in Georgia, they should be used properly and with adult supervision.
Hudgens said that in 2011, U.S. hospital emergency rooms treated approximately 9,200 people for fireworks-related injuries, adding that the risk of fireworks injury was highest for children ages 5 to 19.
He asked parents to remind children that if they find unexploded fireworks, do not touch them, and immediately contact the local fire department.