Snap, Crackle and Pop!

The 4th of July is upon us! Many of us are looking forward to enjoying parades, festivals and my favorite: cookouts with family and friends. While we determine what dish (or drinks) we’re going to bring, some of us will opt to bring the BANG – the fireworks. I love putting on the firework display for my 4 children, probably more than they like to see it. One still runs and hide, while peeking out from under my wife’s legs in amazement, while another one is yelling “More! More! Bigger! Bigger!” in an excited but still unsatisfied tone of voice.

If you’re anything like me and want to culminate your holiday with a firework display, please stay safe and stay informed. While it is legal to purchase fireworks in the State of Georgia, there are still laws that must be followed. Sorry, but no, you cannot grab that full stick of dynamite from the construction site and spark it up in the street. You can however, legally purchase:

  • Aerial Items (Cakes)
  • Bottle Rockets
  • Crackle and Strobe
  • Display Shells
  • Firecrackers
  • Fountains
  • Missiles
  • Novelties
  • Parachutes
  • Roman Candles
  • Sky Flyers
  • Sky Rockets
  • Smoke and Punk
  • Sparklers
  • Wheels and Spinners

While your party might last all night, firework igniting is only allowed up until midnight on the Fourth. 9pm is the cut off time for other nights – with the exception of 1am on New Year’s. Remember, don’t be that neighbor.

Georgia state law also ban fireworks from being ignited in state parks, on roads, highways, and within 100 yards of a hospital, nursing home, prison, nuclear power plant, gas station, or refinery, so be aware of your surroundings. Not knowing is not a get out of jail free card. So if you’re that person that lives in the one house between the gas station and hospital, no fireworks for you.

You should also check your local ordinances for further restrictions as many established cities, townships, communities and HOAs will have some.

A Happy 4th of July is a Safe One. Please consider these safety tips.

  1. While I enjoy my kids’ anticipation of that first pop, I’m sure not to let it rush me through proper firework safety precautions. Beyond the firework display I’ll still want to be able to give them a high five. No one says “high four”.
  2. Again, I have four, yes four children, so I get that they want in on the action. I also know that most firework incidents/injuries happen to children under the age of 16. So my babies only get to yell and point from the porch.
  3. Don’t let the drunken uncle pop the fireworks. Period.
  4. Light it up and run. Again, it’s cooler to run out of the way than yell “high four”.
  5. If you live in the woods, or haven’t mowed your lawn all season, don’t light fireworks at home. You will start a fire. Have you ever heard Smokey Bear’s motto “Only you can prevent wildfires”?
  6. Relighting a dud is like looking down the barrel of a gun after pulling the trigger. (In other words, you may get blown away.)
  7. When lighting fireworks, you are in fact intentionally igniting a fire, so you should intentionally have water on standby. A bucket of water or a charged hose would work well.
  8. That was fun! Now all done? Dispose of your fireworks safely by wetting them down and discarding them in a metal trash can away from buildings or other combustible materials.

With all of that said, if you should find yourself in trouble with the law (or injured) because you found this blog too late to take my advice, give me a call at 404.620.6110. I am Attorney Robert James.

Robert James is the Former Dekalb County District Attorney, and is now a named partner at the personal injury firm Morriss, Shim and James. In addition to managing personal injury cases, Attorney Robert James also continues to represent clients in criminal matters. Learn more at or 404.620.6110.