Tuesday, Jun 19, 2018
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Police & Fire

Officials: Watch out as sparks fly on 4th

Personal use of fireworks illegal in Ohio


Kelli Miller, right, owner of Lil John's Fireworks in Lambertville, helps Terry Vore and her grandson Bryce Boyd, 10, of Petersburg, Mich., check out after picking out fireworks for the holiday weekend.

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The Ohio Fire Marshal’s Office has a tip for any Ohioans searching for some fireworks this Fourth of July:

“Go to a professionally displayed fireworks show,” public information officer Lindsey Burnsworth said.

Aside from sparklers and other small novelty items, fireworks are illegal for personal use in Ohio, although they are legal to buy if customers sign a form saying they will transport them outside the state within 48 hours of purchase.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, 11,400 people across the United States were treated in emergency rooms for injuries related to fireworks in 2013, and 65 percent of those injuries occurred within a month of the Fourth of July.

Eight people died from fireworks-related injuries in 2013, according to the consumer commission.

Tips for enjoying a safe Fourth of July weekend:

■ Make sure the use of any legal fireworks, such as sparklers, is overseen by a responsible adult. Sparklers and other novelty items are the only types of fireworks that are legal in Ohio.

■ Read and follow the written instructions on the label of the sparkler or other novelty firework.

■ Light only one sparkler at a time and hold it away from yourself and others.

■ Always keep a bucket of cold water nearby for the disposal of sparklers, which can burn up to 1,800 degrees.

■ Apply cool water to a burn and seek medical attention as needed.

■ If you attend a public fireworks display, stay about a quarter of a mile away from the launch point.

Sources: The Ohio Health Department and the State Fire Marshal’s Office

Young children are most at risk, even from the sparklers that are legal in Ohio, because “consumers sometimes feel comfortable handing off to children fireworks devices perceived to be less powerful,” a comission report said.

“If anybody is going to use sparklers make sure there is a responsible adult present,” Ms. Burnsworth said. She added that it is important to have a bucket of water nearby for the disposal of used sparklers.

In Ohio, wire and wood sparklers are allowed — wire sparklers leave the hot wire core intact after the chemical burns off, while wood sparklers burn entirely but can leave hot ash. They can burn up to 1,800 degrees.

“I personally hate wire sparklers,” said Kelli Miller, owner of Lil John’s Fireworks in Lambertville. She said she prefers the wooden ones and does not allow her children to use wire sparklers.

Consumer fireworks are legal to use in Michigan, but Ms. Miller has a few recommendations for anyone who might be unsure how to operate their fireworks.

“If you do not know how to shoot it you either read the directions or ask somebody,” she said, adding that most buyers are good about asking for help if they need it.

“That’s a big factor,” Ms. Miller said, pointing to a sign on her wall that said “Fireworks and Alcohol Do Not Mix.”

“People do do it and it’s not a good idea,” she said.

Ms. Miller also recommended staying a safe distance from fireworks once they are lit. Also she said to be sure to shoot rockets out of a secure pipe, rather than just placing them in the ground, because otherwise the fireworks may fall over and shoot at someone.

In Ohio, where such backyard displays are not an option, Ms. Burnsworth added that it is important to stay about a quarter mile from professional fireworks shows.

“Make sure you are a safe distance from where they are shooting those off,” she said.

Contact Stephen Gruber-Miller at: smiller@theblade.com, 419-724-6050, or on Twitter @sgrubermiller.

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