Fire department urges safety when shooting fireworks

LAWRENCEVILLE — The Gwinnett County fire department discourages use of fireworks during celebrations like tonight’s New Year’s Eve festivities.

That said, it realizes many people will, and is passing along several tips to make sure it’s a safe holiday for all involved.

• Use only approved fireworks. While some fireworks were legalized in the state of Georgia in 2005, any item that explodes or rises in the air (i.e. bottle rockets, roman candles, mortars and fire crackers) is still considered illegal.

• Read the directions carefully in a well-lit area and inspect the fireworks device for any defects.

• Always keep a bucket of water, garden hose and portable fire extinguisher close by.

• Ignite fireworks outdoors on flat, firm surfaces and in an open area away from buildings, vehicles and vegetation.

• Using a punk or fireplace lighter, only ignite one device at a time.

• Never attempt to fix or re-ignite a malfunctioning fireworks device. Instead, discard them safely by soaking them in a bucket of water.

• Alway keep fireworks away from children

• Before going to bed at night, remember to inspect the area where fireworks were used. Make sure no smoldering fires, hot embers or sparks are present.

• Always soak used fireworks in a bucket of water before discarding them.