New Fireworks Laws For 2016

Released June 24, 2016 01:22 PM

With the July 4th Holiday just days away, the skies over Alpharetta will soon be ablaze with flashes of color and the thunder of fireworks.  It is important, however, that area residents are aware that key changes have been made to Georgia’s fireworks laws that will effect when and where they can be used.

Bowing to pressure from constituents angered over fireworks being used late into the evening on most any day of the year, state legislators have returned some levels of control to cities and counties so that fireworks use can be regulated via local noise ordinances.  The new laws also prohibit the use of “consumer fireworks” to between 10:00 AM and 9:00 PM on most days, while the end time is extended to 11:59 PM on July 3 and 4 and December 31.  The end time is extended further, up to 1:00 AM, on January 1.  Local jurisdictions can allow for later use, if they so choose, and Alpharetta has set the end time at 10:00 PM for days other than those specifically noted in Georgia law.

The law defines “consumer fireworks” as generally including any small fireworks devices containing restricted amounts of pyrotechnic composition, designed primarily to produce visible or audible effects by combustion, that comply with federal construction, chemical composition, and labeling regulations. ‘Consumer fireworks’ ALSO include Roman candles, an item which formerly was classified as ‘fireworks’.

Georgia now also requires that a person must be 18 years-of-age or older in order to purchase fireworks and that those under age 16 may not be in possession of fireworks.  Individuals aged 16 to 17 years may be in possession of fireworks only when serving as an assistant to a licensed distributor or certain benefiting not-for-profit organizations, and they cannot at any time transport fireworks on interstate highways.

In addition to the new time limits and age restrictions on fireworks use and possession, changes to Georgia’s laws also stipulate that consumer fireworks:

  • *Cannot be used within any park, historic site, recreational area, or other property owned or operated by, for, or under the custody or control of the City or County unless a special use permit has been granted.

  • *Cannot be used within the right-of-way of any public road, street, highway, or railroad.
  • *Cannot be used while a person is under the influence of alcohol or any drug (or combination) to the extent that is less safe or unlawful.
  • *Cannot be used indoors or in any location where the individual is not lawfully present and lawfully permitted to use or ignite fireworks.
  • *Cannot be exploded within 100 yards of a nuclear power facility, gas station, electric plant, water treatment plant, waste-water treatment plant, any public or private substation, a jail or prison, the boundaries of any public use air facility, any public aircraft landing area, hospital, nursing home, or healthcare facility (without owner’s permission) or a facility that refines, processes, or blends gasoline

Consumer fireworks can be dangerous, even when used properly.  On average in the United States 230 people are taken to a hospital emergency room every day with fireworks-related injuries in the one-month period around the July 4th Holiday.  Of those, 34% are between the ages of 25 and 44.

The Alpharetta Department of Public Safety encourages all citizens who choose to enjoy consumer fireworks to do so in the safest manner possible and ensure that a responsible adult is actively supervising.  When choosing to use fireworks, please be respectful to neighbors and others and remember that what may be fun to you, may be noise or a nuisance to others.