It’s that time of year.

Well, almost that time of year.

With still about two weeks until the July 4 Independence Day holiday, people are already setting off fireworks in south Georgia. Hearing a series of loud booms, followed by the crackle of falling embers, was part of the evening soundscape this past weekend.

And if you didn’t hear them the past few evenings, well, get ready for things that go boom in the night.

Fireworks are legal, with certain restrictions, but are still dangerous.

As we approach the Independence Day holiday, residents are purchasing and lighting up the night sky with their firecrackers, sparklers, rockets and shells.

We join local leaders in urging caution and reminding residents of both state laws and local ordinances.

Officials have said since the legalization of rockets in Georgia, complaints regarding noise, property damage and lost pets have risen significantly.

We urge our readers to simply be courteous and good neighbors.

Pets, and even livestock, can be frightened by the loud explosives.

Even more concerning is the fact that combat veterans have reported being traumatized by loud firework blasts.

Anyone selling, purchasing and igniting fireworks has to be at least 18 years of age. Fireworks are prohibited on public roadways or parks. It is illegal to shoot fireworks under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol.

We want to share these guidelines from the National Council on Fireworks Safety:

• Obey all local laws regarding the use of fireworks.

• Know your fireworks; read the cautionary labels and performance descriptions before igniting.

• A responsible adult should supervise all firework activities. Never give fireworks to children.

• Alcohol and fireworks do not mix. Save your alcohol for after the show.

• Wear safety glasses when shooting fireworks.

• Light one firework at a time and then quickly move away.

• Use fireworks outdoors in a clear area; away from buildings and vehicles.

• Never relight a “dud” firework. Wait 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water.

• Always have a bucket of water and charged water hose nearby.

• Never carry fireworks in your pocket or shoot them into metal or glass containers.

• Do not experiment with homemade fireworks.

• Dispose of spent fireworks by wetting them down and place in a metal trash can away from any building or combustible materials until the next day.

Many towns have cancelled their annual fireworks displays due to the COVID-19 pandemic, meaning some people may feel compelled to light their own fireworks. We urge anyone making such plans to follow all safety guidelines and be courteous of their neighbors.

For areas with public displays planned, we encourage residents to attend these professional fireworks shows instead of igniting fireworks on private property; it will be much more safe and a more spectacular show. 

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