SEVIERVILLE, Tenn. — It is almost time to start the new year off with a bang. If you are planning to shoot off fireworks, firefighters want you to be safe about it.
You don't want to start off 2022 with the wrong kind of bang.
Sevierville Fire Department Fire Marshal JC Green said if you do decide to shoot off your own fireworks, the first thing you need to do is check if it's even legal where you live.
"One of the things to remember inside most cities, inside the city of Sevierville especially, they're illegal to shoot," Green said. "You have to have a permit and it has to be a licensed professional that is shooting the fireworks."
It's legal to shoot off fireworks in Blount County, depending on what time of day it is. Fireworks cannot be shot between the hours of 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. You cannot shoot off fireworks in Alcoa or Townsend.
In Maryville, it is legal to set off fireworks on private property on certain dates and times. It's legal ONLY from July 3 and 4 and Dec. 31 - Jan. 31 from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., and fireworks may be shot up until 1 a.m. specifically the morning of New Year's Day. It's still prohibited to use fireworks at any public area, street, roadway, parking lot, etc.
Fireworks are legal in Sevier County, but not within the city limits of Sevierville, Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge.
It is illegal to shoot off fireworks in Knoxville and Knox County.
"We do like to tell everybody that the best thing is to find a professional show to go watch," Green said. "Let them do all the work and just enjoy the show."
If it's legal for you to light up the pyrotechnics, take Green's safety tips.
First, shoot off in a big, clear area.
"Make sure that there's no combustibles, brush, things that would burn right next to it," Green said.
Light one firework at a time.
"Don't try to create your own fireworks by interconnecting different types and making your own," Green said. "While it sounds like fine, it's definitely dangerous because you don't have control over the explosion that's happening."
Make sure you have something to put out a potential flame, like a bucket of water, water hose or fire extinguisher.
"If you do have fireworks, sometimes they don't always go off," Green said. "So if you have ones that don't go off, always assume that anything could go off, and make sure you wet it down appropriately."
Fireworks hurt over 15,000 people across the U.S. in 2020. If you stay too close to the explosive, you could run the risk of getting seriously hurt.
"Most of the time is going to be a hand injury, it'll be a burn type injury, most times hands, but it can be face and eyes," Green said.
Ring in the new year by staying safe and don't take chances with an open flame.
Firefighters say the wet conditions could actually help things like brush and grass not catch fire as easily.