If you are planning to celebrate New Year’s Eve with fireworks, you need to be sure you know the safest way to do that.
The Forsyth County Sheriff's Office reminds citizens that fireworks, while fun, can also be dangerous. Authorities say people should remember to never use fireworks around small children, in homes with former combat veterans, or around animals. It's also important to never shoot fireworks in a direction of another house or a car and to be sure no people are anywhere nearby.
Make sure you know how late you are allowed to shoot off the fireworks. While most holidays have a strict midnight end time for fireworks, New Year’s has a special extension. They are legally allowed until 1 a.m. on New Year's morning. Also, you should know it’s illegal to shoot off fireworks at parks or historic sites, on roads and highways, or within 100 yards of a nursing home, hospital, power plants, prison, or gas station.
If you have a pet that is prone to escape, or might be nervous because of the noises, make sure you keep them safely inside until the explosives are over.
Hall County Fire Services Division Chief Zachary Brackett said the prediction of rain for New Year's Eve may dampen the spirits of those who want to usher out 2020 with a bang, but he said it's actually good news for firefighters.
"From a fire safety standpoint, looking at it being rainy or drizzly during the time that people are going to be shooting off fireworks - I like that," Brackett said. "[That's] because it wets all the fuel that they could potentially ignite that's on the ground."
Brackett said he doesn't expect the rain will stop all fireworks activity, though, and he said if there's any wind with the stormy weather, that could spell trouble.
"You might be shooting off a firework on your property and it might be clear of any structures, but you shoot it up in the air and the wind's blowing, it could drift over to your neighbor's house and ignite on their home," Brackett said.
He also said while New Year's Eve is often a holiday to celebrate with an alcoholic beverage, drinking and fireworks can be a dangerous combination.
"Don't use fireworks when you're impaired by drugs or alcohol," he said.
If you’re unsure of the laws surrounding firework use, you can follow this link for more information.