PHENIX CITY, Ala. — Independence Day always comes with a bang. According to Wallet Hub, Americans will spend more than $800 million on fireworks for the 4th of July.
Fireworks are staples around Independence Day. From sparklers to snappers and everything in between, expect to hear and see stunning displays of fireworks. And while celebrations will go off with a bang, it’s important to know the laws to avoid potential problems.
News 3 spoke with Jay Flowers, an owner of Big Mama’s Fireworks in Phenix City. He says fireworks aren’t just for Independence Day. He’s noticed an explosion in business because of birthdays, weddings, and anniversaries.
“We attribute that to a better economy, the gas prices, the weather is real good,” Flowers said.
But Flowers warns people setting off fireworks to abide by the proper rules and regulations. In Alabama, one can set off fireworks until 1 a.m. on a holiday. Any other day of the year, the cutoff time is 11 p.m.
In Georgia, fireworks are also legal year-round. Cities are steadily getting more control over fireworks ordinances. People in the Peach State have until 2 a.m. on holidays to set off fireworks. Any other day of the year, fireworks are fair game until 10 p.m. in Georgia.
“Phenix City does restrict fireworks on the 4th of July,” Flowers said. “But in Russell County and Lee County, there’s no restriction on that.”
Flowers says safety is the top concern when it comes to setting off fireworks. He recommends setting them on a flat surface and checking the fuse before lighting it. He also says people should not shoot off fireworks in a rocky area or grass. Avoid setting off fireworks around trees or power lines. Flowers says to steer clear of vehicles or buildings when setting up fireworks. When at the house, set up on the driveway or the road. He urges folks to wait at least ten minutes after the lighting or explosion to throw away used fireworks.
“Some people in the past have tried to shoot them holding them,” Flowers said. “You can get severe burns that way. They can go off on you. Shoot them off their heads or shoot them holding them in their hands and people have been killed that way.”
Capt. Jason Whitten with the Phenix City Police Department says law enforcement are used to hearing calls mistaking fireworks for gunshots.
“It clogs up our 911 system and our manpower on the streets handling those types of calls,” Whitten said.
Anyone who violates city ordinances concerning fireworks could face punishment including fines and possible jail time.