MIAMI COUNTY — Fireworks are especially popular around the Fourth of July holiday, with many people attending shows and setting off their own, and first responders around the county and state remind everyone to play it safe with fireworks.
“One of the biggest issues that we’re concerned about, from a fire department standpoint, is either injury or a fire that happens because of unsafe use,” Piqua firefighter and fire inspector John Miller said. “We obviously want you to enjoy your time using fireworks, to enjoy the holiday.”
Miller and Troy’s Assistant Fire Chief Gary Stanley offered some common sense tips for using fireworks safely, including only setting them off outside and away from buildings, as well as keeping a bucket of water at hand.
Stanley said residents should only use fireworks that can be legally discharged in the state of Ohio,which include smokes, sparklers, snaps, and snakes. He added that even smaller “novelty” fireworks can still cause serious injuries and recommended keeping a close eye on kids, noting that many legal fireworks products are dangerous to small children.
“Sparklers burn at 1,800 degrees, that’s a lot,” he said, comparing them to a “mini welding stick.”
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, fireworks are involved in thousands of injuries treated in U.S. hospital emergency rooms each year. Most of those injuries occur in the weeks surrounding the Fourth of July.
While Stanley and Miller both said there haven’t been many recent fireworks injuries, it does happen.
“We’ve been pretty lucky recently,” Stanley said.
Fireworks were involved in an estimated 12,900 injuries treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments during calendar year 2017; men accounted for 70 percent of fireworks injuries and children under the age of 15 made up about 36 percent.
When it comes to bigger explosives, leave it to the experts, both fire departments recommended.
“Go see a professional show,” Stanley said.
Miller added that the city of Piqua is planning a “really cool” firework show this year, with fireworks set off from near the Garnsey Street bridge. He also reminded anyone planning to watch from the river to wear a life jacket and to anchor their boats.
Additional safety tips include:
• Handle and discharge trick and novelty devices only under adult supervision.
• Appoint one adult to be in charge. This person should know the hazards of each type of firework being used.
• Carefully read and follow the directions on the trick and novelty device packaging.
• Light only one sparkler at a time and hold it away from your body and others .
• Sparkler wires, which can burn up to 1,800 degrees, should immediately be placed in a bucket of water to avoid injury as they remain hot for a few minutes after burnout.
• If someone gets burned, run cool water over the wound for two to three minutes and seek medical attention when necessary.
According to state law, Ohioans may buy consumer (fire crackers, bottle rockets, etc.) fireworks from a licensed wholesaler or manufacturer, but they cannot be discharged in the state. Consumer fireworks purchased in Ohio must be taken out of the state within 48 hours of the purchase.
Reach Cecilia Fox at firstname.lastname@example.org.