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Fireworks Not Only Dangerous, But Still Illegal in Ohio

Sparklers can burn as hot as 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit. (Pixabay)
Sparklers can burn as hot as 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit. (Pixabay)
July 3, 2018

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The booms of fireworks are already resonating throughout Ohio communities ahead of Independence Day. But officials say not only are most fireworks illegal in Ohio, they are also very dangerous.

An estimated 13,000 people were treated in the nation's emergency rooms last year for fireworks-related injuries - most during the one-month period surrounding the Fourth of July.

Chief Deputy State Fire Marshal Bill Spurgeon notes nearly half of the injuries involve young adults or children.

"Fingers, hands, eye injuries - those are common, and we want to avoid that," he says. "Go to a licensed professional exhibit; leave this up to the professionals. And if you are going to use these trick and novelty devices absolutely under the supervision of an adult with reading the label carefully, having a bucket of cold water."

While trick and novelty devices - like sparklers and snaps - are permitted, it's a different story for bottle rockets and roman candles. While sold in Ohio, those and other consumer-grade fireworks must be taken out of the state within 48 hours of purchase.

Trick and novelty fireworks are also dangerous, says Spurgeon, noting sparklers can set clothing on fire and cause serious burns.

"These are attractive to children and they get hot, up to 1,800 degrees," he notes. "And we really feel strongly you should have a bucket of cool water available to immerse those, once they're done with their display. And if someone should get in contact, you should have a source to cool that area immediately."

This session, the Ohio House passed legislation to legalize the use of consumer fireworks, while allowing local communities to restrict the times and dates of use, or ban fireworks altogether.

House Bill 226 is now before the Senate Government Oversight and Reform Committee. Forty-six states and D.C. allow for use of these types of fireworks.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - OH