Sparklers are legal, but still hazardous - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Sparklers are legal, but still hazardous

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June 6, 2005

Albany -- South Georgia Walmart's and Sam's Clubs have sparklers for sale. The Georgia legislature made the once-outlawed fireworks legal again, just in time for Fourth of July celebrations.

 But firefighters say while they may be legal, they are still hazardous, and could cause serious burns. 

 With names like poppers and glow worms, sparklers are once again legal for sale and use. But firefighters say these are not innocent toys. Albany Fire Department Interim Chief James Carswell said, "There will be an increase in injuries and an increase in fires because of the legal sale of sparklers in Georgia now."

 The new sparklers have a wide variety like these that spray sparks, but as long as they don't explode are legal. Albany firefighters set off a handful next to newspapers, but they did not spark a fire. Still they insist they could cause dry grass and pine straw fires. Chief Carswell said, "They burn at 18-hundred degrees. Gold will melt at a lot less temperature than that."

A simple sparkler dropped in the newspaper did cause a blaze in seconds. They would also set this T-shirt on fire. Firefighters urge parents to protect their children if they are going to let them play with sparklers. Chief Carswell said "The increase in injuries is probably going to be on the 14 and under age group."

 In 2002 More than 8 thousand Americans were treated in emergency rooms for fireworks related injuries. Most were boys under 14 years of age, who suffered burns to the face, eyes, or hands.

People over 18 can buy sparklers in Georgia, but there is no wording in the law about letting young people use them. That's why firefighters warn you to use caution if you do. A number of South Georgia stores are already selling sparklers, but the displays have to be supervised by store employees.

 The Albany Fire Department asks people to let them know if stores are improperly displaying or selling sparklers.

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