Fireworks safety

Be safe, be docile, celebrate under the guidance of a licensed professional


Almost everyone loves fireworks, which is why thousands of people are expected to pack Toledo’s Promenade Park for The Blade’s annual “Red, White, KABOOM” blowout on the Fourth of July. Far too many of us will also set off firecrackers at home — even though that violates Ohio law — and almost certainly, injuries will result.

Although fireworks other than sparklers, poppers, and snakes are illegal, police admit they don’t have enough staffing to enforce the laws. Yet not getting arrested may be scant consolation to someone who loses part of a hand or an eye, or suffers third-degree burns.

Even sparklers are capable of major damage. They can burn hotter than the temperature needed to melt glass, let alone flesh.

Jamie Ferguson, the Toledo Fire Department’s education officer, says it is important to avoid handling fireworks if you have been drinking alcohol, and to take precautions against fire. Never set off fireworks near dry grass or buildings: In 2008, a July 4th bottle rocket caused a fire that destroyed the Hunter’s Ridge apartments in South Toledo, leaving scores of people homeless.

Fireworks can be wonderful, an important part of celebrating Independence Day. But the best and safest way to enjoy them is to leave them strictly in the hands of the professionals.