With the holiday weekend quickly approaching, there will be many celebrations and traditions involved — including fireworks. The Wapakoneta fire chief and the state fire marshal remind of the importance of following safety precautions to reduce the number of fires and fireworks related injuries.
“The best way for Ohioans to prevent fireworks injuries is to attend a licensed, professional firework exhibition,” State Fire Marshal Larry Flowers said. “Keep in mind that even trick and novelty fireworks, like sparklers, are inherently dangerous and can cause serious injury.”
The only types of fireworks that can be legally purchased and discharged in Ohio are trick and novelty devices, these include items that smoke, sparkle, snap and snake.
“Handle and discharge trick and novelty devices only under adult supervision,” Flowers said. “Appoint one adult to be in charge. This person should know the hazards of each type of firework being used.”
Flowers encourages that the directions on the trick and novelty device packaging should be read carefully and followed.
“Light only one sparkler at a time,” Flowers said, “and hold it away from your body.”
Wapakoneta Fire Chief Kendall Krites said that sparklers put off a lot of heat and there are many burn injuries each year related to sparkers.
“I encourage everyone to use common sense and be safe and careful,” Krites said.
Sparklers burn at 2,000 degrees or hotter, and that is as hot as a blow torch and the charcoal fire in a grill. This temperature is so hot, that it can even melt copper, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) website.
Sparklers should be immediately placed in a bucket of water to avoid injury as the sparklers will remain hot for a few minutes after burnout.
If a person gets burned, they should run cool water over the wound for two or three minutes and seek medical attention if needed.
Also the CPSC says to never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not gone off or fully functioned.
Fireworks, like bottle rockets and small firecrackers, sent 1,900 consumers to emergency rooms last year around the Fourth of July holiday, according CPSC. In 2010, approximately 8,600 people visited emergency rooms from firework injuries.
Other fireworks, those that are sold in fireworks stores around Ohio, can be legally purchased in the state, but one must agree to take them out of Ohio to discharge, according to the State Fire Marshal’s Office.
A person must be 18 years of age to buy items such as firecrackers and bottle rockets at the stores throughout Ohio, but firing them off within the state boundaries is prohibited.
Krites said that only things that sparkle, smoke, snap and snake are legal. Bottle rockets, firecrackers and any type of firework that can be shot off in the air are illegal in the state of Ohio, unless they are done by a licensed firework exhibitor.
There are stiff penalties for illegal possession or discharge of fireworks, and it is a first degree misdemeanor for the non-licensed individuals to discharge fireworks in Ohio, to falsify an application when purchasing fireworks or to possess them for more than 48 hours without taking them out-of-state.
Only licensed fireworks exhibitors can perform fireworks exhibitions and a permit from local authorities is required for all exhibitions. Exhibitors undergo special training on fireworks law and safety.