Savannah officials address Fourth of July celebration, safety

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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Fourth of July events in Savannah start soon, and city officials want to make sure residents and visitors enjoy the holiday safely.

There are two free fireworks shows happening in the city: Grayson Stadium on July 3 and River Street on July 4.

“I know folks like to shoot fireworks off themselves, but we really encourage people to start coming to these larger events where you can partake in the community and also see the larger displays,” Susan Broker, Office of Special Events, Film & Tourism Director said.

With larger events come more traffic and parking concerns. Mobility & Parking Services offers the following reminders:

  • Come early, have a parking plan
  • Meters and time zones not enforced on July 4
  • DOT shuttle running until 9 p.m.
  • Downtowner operating 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. for those who have to work, and those who are enjoying festivities downtown
  • Take photos to remember where you parked
  • Be patient with traffic

As for city parking garages, there is a flat fee to park for the entire day: $15 cash, $10 card. Mobility & Parking Services adds that there is no tailgating allowed in garages and visitors cannot view fireworks from garages.

The Savannah Police Department (SPD) will be shutting down River Street around 6:30 p.m. on Thursday ahead of the fireworks show. Sgt. Dana Purvis, SPD Special Events Coordinator, said the street will be reopened after the display when pedestrian traffic calms.

For those who might choose to have their own Fourth of July celebration at home, Purvis says to be aware of the city’s noise ordinance.

On Thursday, you can shoot fireworks until 11:59 p.m. Every other day, SPD will enforce the ordinance after 9:00 p.m.

Purvis also offers the following advice and reminders:

  • Shooting fireworks on roadways or highways or within 100 yards of hospitals, nursing homes or prisons is prohibited
  • Celebratory gunfire: It is against the law to shoot your weapon in city limits or near a celebratory area such as downtown
  • Take photos of children for missing children instances

“Do not leave your child unattended. We will be enforcing juvenile curfew laws which starts at 11 p.m.,” she added. “So if the child or anyone under the age of 16 is unaccompanied by an adult, we will contact their parents and make them leave the area.”

Savannah Fire Rescue Chief Investigator Fred Anderson has safety advice for those celebrating with fireworks at home:

  • Know and obey all laws
  • Only shoot fireworks outdoors
  • Keep packaging that comes with fireworks & utilize manufacturing safety instructions
  • Never let children shoot fireworks
  • Alcohol and fireworks do not mix
  • Only light one at a time
  • Only shoot fireworks outdoors
  • Don’t attempt to relight “duds,” submerge it in water before disposing
  • Don’t try to make homemade fireworks
  • Make sure pets are indoors; take steps ahead of time if they get anxious
  • Be mindful of surroundings

He added: “The safest way to enjoy fireworks over Fourth of July is to go to one of the public displays, there are many of them in the area.”

To view Georgia’s Code regarding fireworks and noise ordinances, visit here.

The main takeaway from city officials: have fun, but be safe.

“I think the most important thing is to use common sense,” said Ken Slats with the city’s Office of Public Communications. “This is one of those holidays where we can’t really specify everything and enforce everything, but common sense plays a huge role.”

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