Grove City Record

Firefighters urge leaving fireworks to professionals

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If you want to see fireworks this Fourth of July, the Jackson Township Division of Fire advises you not to try them at home.

"I say take your kids to a public exhibit," said township fire inspector Tammy Green. "A person to let off fireworks has to be a licensed exhibitor."

Each year, Green said, there are typically more fires reported on the Fourth of July than any other day of the year. Of those fires, two out of five typically are caused by fireworks.

That's more than any other cause, according to the National Fire Protection Association. In 2011, fireworks caused an 17,800 estimated fires.

And fires aren't the only issues. In 2012, U.S. emergency rooms saw an estimated 8,700 people over the Fourth of July holiday for fireworks-related injuries, most of which were burns.

Most of the victims, Green said, are 15 and under, with males comprising nearly three-quarters of those.

For Grove City's Blast at Beulah celebration Friday, licensed professionals will be in charge of the fireworks. Jackson Township Fire will be in charge of safety.

"We take all the precautions," Green said. "We make sure the grass is mowed. ... We also have a water source ready."

As for the types of legal fireworks in Ohio which don't require professional certification to use, Green said she has issues with those as well.

"Kids should never be lighting them," Green said. "Ever."

State law does permit consumer use of more novelty-type fireworks, including the "Four S's" -- snakes, snaps, smoke bombs and sparklers. Even though they are legal, they can still be dangerous.

"The worst of them are the sparklers," Green said. "That's like having a torch in your hand."

Green said people should have a bucket of water nearby and the items should be disposed of in outside trash receptacles once they are extinguished. In addition, the National Council on Fireworks Safety advises people to wear safety glasses and keep the fireworks away from buildings and out of pockets. Also, children should always be supervised.

People should also mind their pets when the fireworks go off, Green said, adding that humane societies report a huge increase in the number of dogs they deal with, who've run off in fear from loud fireworks displays.

For more information about fireworks safety, visit the National Fire Protection Association website, nfpa.org, or the National Council on Fireworks Safety website, fireworkssafety.org.

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