“The best way for Ohioans to prevent fireworks injuries is to attend a licensed, professional fireworks exhibition,” said Interim State Fire Marshal Donald C. Cooper. “Keep in mind that even trick and novelty fireworks, like sparklers, are inherently dangerous and can cause serious injury.”
The July 4th fireworks in Portsmouth is sponsored annually by Civic Forum and tops off the Ribs on the River festivities. The fireworks display is set for about 10 p.m. Saturday. Gene Arms, of Civic Forum, said the group has sponsored the fireworks display for the past 72 years.
For those who choose to have their own display, Cooper said 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.
Cooper encourages Ohioans to follow some important safety tips:
• 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 label 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 1800 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 or three minutes and seek medical attention when necessary.
Other fireworks, like those sold at fireworks stores around Ohio, can be legally purchased in the state, but you must agree to take them out of Ohio to discharge.
“You must be at least 18 years of age to buy items such as firecrackers and bottle rockets at the stores you see along the roadways of Ohio,” said Cooper. “But firing them off within state boundaries is prohibited.”
Under Ohio’s fireworks law, stiff penalties can be applied for the illegal possession or discharge of fireworks, Cooper said. It is a first-degree misdemeanor for 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. First-time offenders are subject to up to a $1,000 fine and six months imprisonment.
DEBORAH DANIELS can be reached at (740 353-3101, ext. 234.