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Economic Downturn No Match for Toco Hill Fireworks Sales

Phantom Fireworks' sales are on par with past years despite the fledgling economy, the tent operator said.

Area residents know July 4th is fast approaching when the Phantom Fireworks tent rises from the pavement in the Toco Hill Shopping Center.  The tent went up June 24th for its third year of pre-Independence Day fireworks sales. 

Tent operator Brandon Longley said that the economic downturn has not impacted his business, but he can tell people are hurting for cash. 

“The sales themselves seem about the same,” he said. “I think the strange thing is I’ve had three people ask for jobs this year, and not last.”

Longley indicated that his most popular products include the Fiery Frogs and Magma Glows

And of course customers continue to flock to the old favorites. 

“Everybody’s always looking for sparklers,” Longley said. 

That was certainly the case for Andy Chandler, a Gainesville resident who purchased a variety pack for his kids on the way home from work. 

“I knew these were glorified sparklers,” he said. “And for young kids it’s great. It’s all you need.” 

Longley was careful to point out that state law prohibits him from selling firecrackers, bottle rockets, roman candles and mortars. 

“If you’re looking for that stuff, go to the state line,” he said. 

If you still haven’t secured your July 4th fireworks, fear not. Longley said his tent would remain open through “almost the final hour of the fourth.”  

And just an FYI: Patch got this from Georgia Optometric Association. Sparklers apparently heat up to 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit. No joke. So be careful or don't buy them at all.

Members of the Georgia Optometric Association are urging parents to practice fireworks safety this Fourth of July in an effort to reduce the number of eye injuries.  

For most Americans, the Fourth of July holiday is marked by backyard barbeques and patriotic fireworks displays. Unfortunately, the fun can be cut short when fireworks are used inappropriately and cause serious injuries.  Some of the most common fireworks injuries are eye abrasions, lacerations, contusions and foreign matter in the eye. The majority of these cases are related to the use of sparklers.

“Celebrating the Fourth of July with fireworks is a great American tradition, but safety needs to be the top priority,” said Dr. Tom Spetalnick, president of the Georgia Optometric Association. “Children are frequent victims of injury from fireworks, particularly sparklers which are often handled at close distances.”  

According to a study by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, fireworks were the culprit for an estimated 8,800 injuries treated in U.S. hospital emergency rooms during 2009. 54 percent of those who were injured were children or teenagers.       

To help prevent injury during fireworks season, the Georgia Optometric Association recommends the following tips to help protect and preserve eyesight during the Fourth of July holiday.       

  • Avoid purchasing sparklers. Heating up to 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit, sparklers are the number one cause of fireworks injuries requiring trips to the emergency room.        
  • Discuss firework safety with children and teens prior to the Fourth of July holiday.      
  • Do not allow kids to handle fireworks, and never leave them unsupervised near fireworks.
  • Wear protective eyewear when lighting and handling fireworks of any kind.      
  • Store fireworks, matches and lighters in a secure place where children won’t find them.
  • Be aware of your surroundings and only light fireworks when family, friends and children are at a safe distance.  
“If a firework-related eye injury does occur, always follow up with a full eye exam,” said Dr. Spetalnick. “An optometrist will help ensure that the injury heals correctly and can monitor for potential future vision problems."
To find an optometrist in your area, or for additional information on how best to protect your eyes during the Fourth of July holiday, please visit www.GOAeyes.com.

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