Fireworks safety isn’t the only thing officials want you to keep in mind while celebrating Independence Day this year.
Slowing the spread of the coronavirus is a concern, too. Gainesville Fire-Rescue spokeswoman Tamara Sieger said since it’s illegal to shoot fireworks within Gainesville city limits, safety precautions need to be taken by people who choose to attend a professional show.
Some Fourth of July celebrations have been canceled this year because of the coronavirus. Sieger suggests verifying the fireworks show you choose to attend is still a go.
And, keep in mind there is still a pandemic going on. Sieger said everyone should follow all coronavirus guidelines and recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and local officials.
“Consider your family and community and practice physical distancing at the event,” Sieger said.
She also suggests staying in your vehicle while watching the fireworks display, if possible, or watching fireworks through livestreams or televised events.
If you choose to buy your own fireworks, remember to check with your municipality first before igniting them.
Sieger said GF-R responded to a grass fire last year after a roman candle was lit in the city limits.
It is unlawful for “any person to possess, store, offer for sale, sell at retail, or use or explode any fireworks” in Gainesville, according to the city’s code of ordinances. Offenders could face a fine of up to $2,000 for each offense.
Gainesville Police Department spokeswoman Belva McClinton said between June 24 and July 7, 2019, the police department responded to 30 calls of service regarding fireworks. No citations were issued during any of the calls, she said.
Fireworks are legal to shoot in unincorporated areas of the county year-round, Cooke County Fire Marshal Ray Fletcher previously told the Register.
Fletcher didn’t recall any fireworks-related calls last year. He does, however, advise everyone to follow “some simple but important precautions when it comes to using fireworks” such as never allowing young children to play with fireworks and keeping water handy in case a lit firework gets out of hand.