SIDNEY—With Independence Day approaching and a new Ohio law permitting residents over 18 to discharge 1.4G fireworks on their own property, Sidney Fire Chief Chad Hollinger urges citizens to exercise caution with fireworks.
“Fireworks are generally divided in to two classifications, consumer and professional/display grade. The new law allows for the legal handling, storage, and discharge of 1.4G consumer fireworks,” Hollinger said.
These types of fireworks (1.4G) include, but are not limited to: fountains, cones, roman candles, rockets, firecrackers, and some aerial/finale packs. In a general sense, any fireworks that are packaged in brown paper or brown cardboard are professional/display grade. Professional/display grade fireworks require certification with the State of Ohio as a licensed exhibitor to handle and discharge.
“As the Fourth of July quickly approaches, the following safety guidelines should be considered by anyone wishing to incorporate fireworks in their celebrations,” Hollinger said.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission reported that in 2020 there were 18 non-occupational fireworks-related deaths in the United States. Misuse of fireworks accounted for 12 of the 18 deaths. Additionally, over 15,600 injuries were treated in U.S. hospitals that were related to fireworks.
“Fortunately, these concerning statistics have not been prevalent locally and many are preventable,” Hollinger said.
According to Hollinger, citizens should keep the following in mind when discharging fireworks:
• Fireworks are legally only allowed to be discharged and handled by adults over the age of 18.
• Never allow children to participate in the handling or discharge of fireworks.
• Avoid placing any part of the body over a firework when igniting the fuse and once a fuse is lit, back away quickly to a safe distance.
• Do not attempt to pick-up or re-light fireworks that did not discharge.
• When lighting fireworks, it is safest to light one firework at a time.
• Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
• To avoid unintentional fires, keep a bucket of water nearby to place spent fireworks in.
• Additionally, keep a hose nearby to quickly douse any fires that may be started by a firework.
“By following these safety guidelines, many risks can be mitigated. However, fireworks are explosive devices and will therefore always have an element of danger associated with their discharge. Purchasing 1.4G fireworks from a reputable company, storing them appropriately, and discharging them in accordance with safety guidelines will allow for an ‘as safe as possible’ experience,” Hollinger said.
Hollinger added that the safest way to enjoy fireworks is to leave them to the professionals.
The city of Sidney will host a Fourth of July Fireworks Display at 10 p.m. on Monday, July 4 at the Sidney Middle School. Sponsors for this year’s fireworks display include Wilson Health, Emerson, Buckeye Ford, NK Telco, Cargill, Ferguson Construction, Goffena Furniture, Mutual Federal Savings Bank, and S&S Hospitality Management. After receiving numerous positive comments regarding the quality of last year’s fireworks exhibit, American Fireworks was chosen again as the licensed exhibitor who will shoot the display.
“The public is encouraged to make plans to come out and enjoy the show,” Hollinger said.