SIDNEY — Sidney Fire Chief Chad Hollinger wants citizens to be mindful while handling fireworks this Fourth of July.
“As we celebrate the independence of our country, many are looking forward to gatherings of family and friends. With the events of the last year, many are excited to get outside and enjoy time with others. These gatherings sometimes include fireworks as part of the celebration. All fireworks have the potential to injure or harm the user or observers. Unfortunately, children are often the ones injured in fireworks related incidents,” Hollinger said.
In Ohio, many novelty fireworks are available for purchase and legal to use. There are also consumer-grade fireworks available for sale in-state, but the purchaser is required to sign an agreement stating that the fireworks will be discharged out of the state.
According to the U.S. Product Safety Commision, 36% of all victims of fireworks related incidents are under the age of 15 years old. Additionally, sparklers, which burn at 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit, account for 25% of fireworks injuries that are treated in the emergency departments.
Hollinger advises that children should never be allowed to use fireworks without close adult supervision. He also recommended that novelty devices, such as sparklers, be enjoyed with adult supervision.
“While fireworks have been a long-standing tradition in many Fourth of July celebrations, they must be used responsibly and safely,” Hollinger said.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, fireworks cause an estimated 18,500 reported fires in the U.S. each year, and hospital emergency rooms saw an estimated 12,900 people for fireworks-related injuries in 2017. Each year, an average of two out of five fires started by fireworks are reported on Independence Day.
Additionally, the National Safety Council recommends the following safety tips while handling fireworks:
• Never allow young children to handle fireworks
•Older children should use them only under close adult supervision
• Never use fireworks while impaired by drugs or alcohol
• Anyone using fireworks or standing nearby should wear protective eyewear
• Never hold lighted fireworks
• Never light them indoors
• Only use them away from people, houses and flammable material
• Never point or throw fireworks at another person
• Only light one device at a time and maintain a safe distance after lighting
• Never ignite devices in a container
• Do not try to re-light or handle malfunctioning fireworks
• Soak both spent and unused fireworks in water for a few hours before discarding
• Keep a bucket of water nearby to fully extinguish fireworks that don’t go off or in case of fire
• Never use illegal fireworks
Hollinger added that the City of Sidney will be hosting a Fourth of July fireworks exhibition, made possible by the support of numerous community partners, and that the Sidney Department of Fire and Emergency Services participates in the exhibition by providing safety planning and close inspection of the preparations and discharge of the exhibit.
“The public is encouraged to leave fireworks to the trained professionals and come out and enjoy the Fourth of July celebration at the Sidney Middle School,” Hollinger said.
The exhibition will be held on Sunday, july 4 at 10 p.m.
“Happy Independence Day and remember – enjoy the celebration safely,” Hollinger said.
The Sidney Daily News conducts a periodic interview to update readers with news from the Sidney Fire and Emergency Services Department, 222 W. Poplar St., Sidney.