The 4th of July is the unofficial start of summer. Who doesn’t love a day to celebrate our country, with some BBQ-ing and fun summertime activities on the side? However, it can’t be stressed enough that fireworks should really be left to the experts.
In 2018, there were 5 deaths related to the use of fireworks and over 9,000 injuries. Risking your safety, and the ones around you are not worth the serious injury, or death, that could occur from setting off your own fireworks.
Fireworks can also lead to other hazards and emergencies due to their misuse. Fireworks start an average of 18,500 fires each year, including 1,300 structure fires, 300 vehicle fires, and nearly 17,000 other fires.
Ohio Fireworks law
While you can purchase fireworks in the state of Ohio, it is actually illegal to set them off. Under current law, Ohioans face a first-degree misdemeanor with up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine for firing off fireworks.
You can set off sparklers on a wire stick, toy pistols, toy canes, toy guns, and trick noisemakers. However, please keep in mind that sparklers are not without their own risk. According to the National Safety Council, Sparklers burn at about 2,000 degrees – hot enough to melt some metals. Sparklers can quickly ignite clothing, and children have received severe burns from dropping sparklers on their feet.
The National Fire Protection Association reported that sparklers account for more than 25% of emergency room visits for fireworks injuries. For children under 5 years of age, sparklers accounted for nearly half of the total estimated injuries.
If you do find yourself in a situation where fireworks are being used without an expert present, the National Safety Council has provided some basic tips you should follow. However, we strongly urge you to simply avoid situations which may cause you or your family harm.
- Never allow young children to handle fireworks
- Never use fireworks while impaired by drugs or alcohol
- Anyone using fireworks or standing nearby should wear protective eyewear
- Never hold lighted fireworks in your hands
- Never light them indoors
- Only use them away from people, houses and flammable material
- Never point or throw fireworks at another person
- Only light one device at a time and maintain a safe distance after lighting
- Never ignite devices in a container
- Do not try to re-light or handle malfunctioning fireworks
- Soak both spent and unused fireworks in water for a few hours before discarding
- Keep a bucket of water nearby to fully extinguish fireworks that don't go off or in case of fire
Happy 4th of July
Everyone at Firelands Regional Medical Center wishes you, and your family and friends a Happy 4th of July. Please be safe and use common sense this holiday weekend.