Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner Ralph T. Hudgens and the Georgia State Fire Marshal urge parents to protect their children (and themselves) from the dangers of fireworks during the New Year’s holiday. Georgia law defines prohibited fireworks to include all fireworks, with the exception of: `Wire or wood sparklers of 100 grams or less of mixture per item; other sparkling items which are non-explosive and non-aerial and contain 75 grams or less of chemical compound per tube or a total of 200 grams or less for multiple tubes; snake and glow worms; trick noise makers which include paper streamers, party poppers, string poppers, snappers, and drop pops each consisting of 0.25 grains or less of explosive mixture.`

Commissioner Hudgens reminds Georgians that sparklers, although legal in Georgia, should be used properly outdoors in a clear area and with adult supervision. If a legal device has failed to perform properly, do not attempt to re-ignite it.

The penalties for illegal fireworks are a maximum fine of up to $1,000 and/or a sentence of up to one year in jail. Professional fireworks displays are permitted provided they are licensed through the local judge of probate court.

`According to the National Fire Protection Association’s latest published data, U.S. hospital emergency rooms treated an estimated 8,800 people for fireworks related injuries,` Hudgens said. `Approximately 39% of these injuries occurred among children age 14 years and younger.`

`Yes, it is traditional to celebrate the coming of the New Year with fireworks,` Hudgens said. `However, I encourage our citizens to enjoy them safely by using legal devices as they mark the arrival of the New Year – 2012.`