HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Independence Day is quickly approaching, and Towns County will feature several events to celebrate America’s freedom. The Lake Chatuge Boat Parade is scheduled to launch the festivities, Thursday, July 4. “Boaters line up in the Sunset Bay Cove behind Aqua Tiki, the Grand Marshal, for the parade beginning at 10:30 am,” Towns County Chamber of Commerce said. “No wake, and boats must fly a U.S. flag. Additional patriotic decorations are encouraged. Boats must have a number issued to be considered for judging. A $50 prize will be awarded for most creatively decorated boat, and also for the most red, white and blue. Boats will parade past the Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds, under Anderson Bridge, and past the Hiawassee Beach area before disbanding. Judges will be positioned at the Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds.” Winners will be announced July 4 at 2 pm on the “Towns County and Lake Chatuge Chamber of Commerce” Facebook page.
HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Fireworks can be fun and exciting, but they can also be dangerous if the proper safety precautions are not taken. Agent Dianne Williams of Danny Burch Insurance Agency is teaming up with the Georgia Arson Control Board to remind the citizens of Towns County to make safety a main priority if they choose to handle legal fireworks.
According to Williams, “By following a standard set of firework guidelines, our community can greatly reduce the chance of injury.”
Williams offered the following guidelines to help minimize safety hazards:
- Even legal fireworks should only be used with close adult supervision. In Georgia, no one younger than 18 years of age can purchase sparklers. Adults should always be present when lighting or handling fireworks. Never allow young children to light or handle fireworks. Sparklers can burn at temperatures as high as 1800 degrees.
Use Only Legal Products
- The law states that the definition of prohibited fireworks shall not include: “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.”
Look for Labels and Read the Instructions
- The law requires instructions and warnings labels.
- Always keep a hose and a bucket of water nearby in case of emergencies.
- Use fireworks outdoors, only in clear areas, away from houses, buildings, and dry grass.
- Be sure to use them only on flat hard surfaces.
Let Sleeping Sparklers Lie
- Do not try to relight sparklers that do not ignite. Wait 15 to 20 minutes, then douse and soak them with water and throw them away.
Protect Your Pets.
- The sound of sparklers often frightens animals.
The Georgia Arson Control Program, Inc. (GAC) was formed in January of 1979 by property and casualty insurers writing business in Georgia. GAC, with the cooperation of the Commissioner, Georgia Department of Insurance and Safety Fire, and state/local law enforcement agencies, established an ARSON HOTLINE 1-800-282-5804. A reward fund of up to $10,000 was initiated from which monetary rewards are given to individuals who come forward with information that results in the arrest and conviction of those responsible for arson and/or fraud.
Additional state laws follow:
- For roughly the past decade, Georgia has allowed the sale of sparklers, small fountains and other non-explosive fireworks. But, in 2015, a new law loosened restrictions on the kind of fireworks that could be sold. Now, bottle rockets, firecrackers, Roman candles, and other fireworks are available for sale in the state.
- A person must be 18 years old or or older in order to purchase fireworks in Georgia. No one under 16 may hold or use fireworks, according to the law. Individuals aged 16 to 17 years may be in possession of fireworks only when serving as an assistant to a licensed distributor or certain not-for-profit organizations, and they cannot at any time transport fireworks on interstate highways.
- Statewide in Georgia, the law states that fireworks may only be used between 10 a.m. and 9 p.m. on most nights. There are exceptions on days like New Year’s Eve and the Fourth of July, when the cutoff is extended to 1 a.m (New Year’s) and midnight (Fourth of July). Local governments may vote to extend those hours.
- Fireworks may not be fired on roads or highways, or within 100 yards of a hospital, nursing home or prison.
- They may not be used in a park, historic site, recreational area or other property owned by the city or county unless special permission has been granted.
- Fireworks can’t legally be set off by anyone under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- They can’t be fired indoors, or within 100 yards of a nuclear power facility, gas station, electric plant, water treatment plant, waste-water treatment plant, any public or private substation.
These fireworks are legal to purchase and use across Georgia, according to a state website:
- Bottle Rockets
- Sky Rockets
- Roman Candles
- Smoke and Punk
- Crackle and Strobe
- Wheels and Spinners
- Sky Flyers
- Display Shells
- Aerial Items (Cakes)