Caution urged with fireworks

LAWRENCEVILLE - For residents across the state, Independence Day is a celebration of summer, replete with fireworks, cookouts and family. With the addition of pyrotechnics into the traditional Fourth of July mix, there is the capacity for firework-related injury.

In May 2005, Gov. Sonny Perdue signed Senate legislation permitting the sale and use of sparklers, or fireworks which emit showers of sparks. In general, any firework that launches or explodes into the air remains illegal in Georgia.

Fire Department spokesman Capt. Thomas Rutledge and the Gwinnett County Department of Fire and Emergency Services offer the following tips for keeping your family safe this Fourth:

· Only use approved fireworks. Ensure that your fireworks are from a reputable and licensed vendor.

· Never give fireworks to children. In Georgia, no one under 18 can purchase sparklers.

· Be prepared. Keep a bucket of water, garden hose or portable fire extinguisher nearby in case of emergency.

· Ignite fireworks outdoors. Stay clear of buildings, vehicles, vegetation or any other combustible material. Use fireworks only on flat surfaces.

· Never attempt to re-ignite malfunctioning fireworks. Instead, soak them in water and properly dispose.

· Ignite only one firework at a time, and be careful to maintain a safe distance between yourself and the firework.

· At the end of the night, remember to inspect the area. Check for smoldering fires and lingering sparks from falling firework debris. Wet down the area with a garden hose for extra protection.

· Store remaining fireworks in a cool, dry place away from access by small children or pets and away from open flames. Always soak fireworks in a bucket of water for several hours before discarding of them.

"We are always concerned with dry (weather) conditions and the potential for personal injury or loss of property, due to consumer fireworks," Rutledge said. "We, as always, encourage our citizens to leave the fireworks displays to the professionals. That way, you reduce the risk of anything happening that would cause a fire or injury. Enjoy the independence of our great country by celebrating safely and responsibly."

SideBar: Lighting up the sky

Independence Day Celebration in Norcross

· What: Live music from the Skin Alley Cats, fireworks, rides, vendors, food and games

· When: 2 to 10 p.m. Friday

· Where: Lillian Webb Park, 5 College St., Norcross

· Cost: Free

· For more information: Call 770-448-2122 or visit www.norcrossculturalarts.com

Mall of Georgia's Fabulous Fourth

· What: A day of live music, family-friendly activities and a fireworks display, including performances by the Mike Rogers Band from 2 to 4 p.m., Johnny Rockbridge from 4 to 6 and Lifeforce from 6:30 to 8:30 Saturday with fireworks at dusk and the film "Independence Day" at the mall's Village Amphitheatre to follow

· When: 2 p.m. to dusk Saturday

· Where: Mall of Georgia, 3333 Buford Drive, Buford

· Cost: Free

· For more information: Call 678-482-8788

Duluth Celebrates America

· What: An evening of live entertainment, including performances by The Woody's, the Army Ground Forces Band Loose Cannons, inflatables and rides for children, food and a fireworks display

· When: 6 to 9:30 p.m. Friday

· Where: Scott Hudgens Park at River Green, 4545 River Green Parkway, Duluth

· Cost: Admission is free, while a fee will be charged for activities

· For more information: Call 770-476-3434 or visit www.duluthga.net

Sparks in the Park

· What: A movie - "Kung Fu Panda" - fireworks, inflatables, live entertainment, including a performance by Beatles tribute band The Return, and food vendors

· When: 6:30 to 10 p.m. Friday

· Where: E. E. Robinson Park, south of Sugar Hill Elementary on Sugar Maple Drive just off Level Creek in Sugar Hill

· Cost: Free

· For more information: Call 770-831-7413 or visit www.cityofsugarhill.com

Prelude to the 4th

· What: The Lawrenceville Tourism and Trade Association and Aurora Theatre present the annual, free,

outdoor musical celebration followed by a pyrotechnics finale

· When: 7:30 p.m. Friday

· Where: Gwinnett Historic Courthouse lawn, 185 Crogan St., Lawrenceville

· Cost: Free for lawn seating

· For more information: Call 678-226-2639 or visit www.visitlawrenceville.com

42nd annual Fantastic Fourth Celebration

· What: Stone Mountain Park's Lasershow Spectacular and fireworks

· When: 9:30 p.m. Friday through Sunday

· Where: Stone Mountain Park, U.S. Highway 78 East, Exit 8, Stone Mountain

· Cost: $10 for parking

· For more information: Call 770-498-5690 or visit www.stonemountainpark.


Celebrate Braselton Festival

· What: A parade down Ga. Highway 53 at 10 a.m., followed by food, games, performances by Blue Billy Grit, Dirt and Saddle Creek, and a fireworks display courtesy of Chateau Elan

· When: 9 a.m. until fireworks conclude Saturday

· Where: Braselton Park, 126 Harrison St., Braselton

· Cost: Free

· For more information: Call 706-654-3915

Fourth of July Festival and Fireworks

· What: Live entertainment, vendors, food and fireworks

· When: 3 p.m. until fireworks conclude July 4

· Where: 1369 Fourth Ave., Auburn

· Cost: Free to attend

· For more information: Call 770-963-4002 ext. 223 or visit www.cityofauburn-ga.org

Chateau Elan Independence Day Fireworks

· What: Fireworks display

· When: Dusk on Saturday

· Where: Chateau Elan, 100 Tour de France, Braselton

· Cost: Free

· For more information: For more information, call 1-800-233-WINE or visit www.chateauelan.com