SIDNEY — It’s time for the skies to explode with red, white and blue fireworks as the United States celebrates its birthday on July 4.
“Barbecues, parades, concerts and fireworks are all part of the July 4th celebration,” said Shelby County Sheriff John Lenhart during his weekly interview. “In 2021 it will be legal for Ohio residents to buy fireworks and set them off. House Bill 253 will legalize the purchase of fireworks.”
The bill is now in the Senate for their consideration and vote.
“Right now, only two states are left to legalize the purchase of fireworks. Massachusetts is the other one,” he said.
Lenhart said in Ohio today, a person can purchase fireworks but they “have to promise to take them out of the state within 48 hours and not set them off in Ohio,” he said.
Bottle rockets, missiles and firecrackers are some of the fireworks that can’t be set off in Ohio. Local cities and villages can set up additional guidelines for setting off fireworks.
In his press conference Tuesday, Gov. Mike DeWine said he opposes the legislation.
In 2019, said Lenhart, eight people died in fireworks accidents. A total of 1,300 people were hospitalized, while 18,000 fires were started by fireworks.
Of those injured, said Lenhart, 70% were men. Twenty-five percent of injuries caused by sparklers are suffered by children under the age of five, he said. Of those injuries, 44% are burns and 28” are lacerations.
“Iowa legalized the purchase of fireworks in 2018 and the number of injuries increased by 163%,” said Lenhart.
Here’s some safety tips Lenhart is sharing:
• Do not allow young children to handle fireworks.
• Older children should only use fireworks with adult supervision.
• Do not drink alcohol while shooting off fireworks.
• Do not hold a lighted firework in your hand.
• Only light a firework once. If it doesn’t light, put it in a bucket of water.
• Never point a firework at someone else.
“The best way to enjoy fireworks is to grab a blanket, find a space on the lawn, and watch them explode in the sky.”
Firework displays are planned for June 27 in New Knoxville and on July 4 at Sidney, Indian Lake, Troy and Wapakoneta.
While Shelby County residents are preparing for the holiday, Lenhart gave a pop quiz during his weekly interview. How many answers do you know?
1. How many people were living in the United State on July 4, 1776? How many live in the US today?
2. Where are most fireworks made?
3. How many pounds of fireworks will be shot off this year?
4. How much money will be spent on fireworks this year?
5. How many hot dogs will be eaten on the holiday?
6. what percentage of Americans own a US flag?
7. How old is the United States?
Lenhart expressed the staff’s appreciation for those who donated food and flowers to the Sheriff’s Office this week. Those donating were Decker’s Flowers, the title Office, Greenville Wesleyan Church, Allison Sharp, Callie Lentz and Victory Machine.
Lenhart also shared some statistics that he wished weren’t ion Shelby County.
“With all the attention focused on COVID-19, we’ve kind of forgotten overdose deaths in the county,” said Lenhart. “There have been five deaths in June so far and another six pending (autopsy results). In a normal year, we have 15, 16 or 17 deaths. The drug overdoses are continuing with the virus.”
The Sidney Daily News conducts a weekly interview to update readers with news from the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office, 555 Gearhart Road, Sidney.