The controversy over Georgia’s legalization of fireworks continues after Fourth of July celebrations became loud and caused serious injury. At a time when many states and cities around the country regulate the purchase and use of various types of fireworks, Georgia has enacted a law that permits greater use and availability of fireworks. The law won’t just cause annoyance to some over the Independence Day holiday, the use of fireworks is permitted all year long and can be purchased by those over the age of 18. If this seems to have the potential for loud and annoying activity in urban and rural areas alike, it does. Apparently, many residents were alarmed by the proximity of fireworks to their homes and the potential fire dangers in cities such as Atlanta. And some lawmakers are already making their own noise about amending or even repealing the law.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that although many incidents were reported around metro-Atlanta, some county police departments did not see a sizable change from prior years for things like reckless conduct with fireworks. Specifically, Cobb County advised that the volume of complaint calls was not much different than prior years. One Atlanta-area man was seriously injured when fireworks he lit malfunctioned and struck his leg. He was taken to Kennestone and has or will undergo surgery to his damaged limb. It seems likely that lawmakers who want to amend the new law will be collecting information from police departments and hospitals throughout the state.
CNN reports that around the country there was serious and fatal injury on America’s birthday. One of the most dangerous things people can do, and the Today Show even showed this danger prior to the Fourth of July, is to place a mortar and launch it from their hand or head. Apparently some injuries are caused because people light a firework while holding it. A Maine man lost his life over the weekend by launching a mortar off his head that was loaded incorrectly. It is difficult to imagine that someone would consider such a dangerous activity, but poor judgment and alcohol have often played a role in such horrific accidents.
Children and fireworks do not mix … and we have learned that even those sparklers that we all love to hold and light, are burning at incredibly hot temperatures and can cause serious injury. Many injuries include the loss of hands or fingers, both for children and adults. The Computer Products Safety Commission cautions that young children should not hold sparklers as they burn at 2,000 degrees, which is hot enough to melt metal. Standing over fireworks after they are lit is a recipe for disaster. Make sure you have water on hand for immediate use if something goes amiss. Light only one fireworks at a time and do not light multiple fireworks — leave that to the professionals. Make sure to pour water on fireworks that have been fired off before you discard them.
At Scholle Law we want all our friends and neighbors to enjoy holidays like the Fourth of July. Playing more safely can avoid your family or friends becoming one of the tragic stories we read after every Independence Day. But if and when you need help after an injury or accident, please contact us for a free consultation. We are committed to excellence in law practice and compassion and care for our clients and their families.