AUGUSTA, GA (WFXG) - It's almost time to celebrate the new year, and Georgia officials want to remind residents to protect themselves and their children from the dangers of fireworks.
While the sale and individual use of fireworks is illegal in Georgia, certain kinds of sparklers are allowed, Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner Ralph Hudgens said.
Even though sparklers are legal in Georgia, Hudgens said they should be used properly and with adult supervision.
"In 2011, U.S. hospital emergency rooms treated approximately 9,200 people for fireworks-related injuries," he said. "The risk of fireworks injury was highest for children ages 5-19."
Hudgens said parents should remind children that if they find unexploded fireworks, they should not touch them and should immediately contact the local fire department.
"It's traditional to celebrate the coming of the New Year with fireworks," Hudgens said. "I urge our citizens to enjoy them safely by watching a professional display as they mark the arrival of 2014."
Professional fireworks displays are permitted in Georgia, as long as they are licensed through the local judge of probate court. The penalties for the sale or individual use of fireworks other than sparklers are a fine of up to $1,000 and/or a sentence of up to one year in jail.