Firework safety stressed this holiday

MIAMI COUNTY — With the Fourth of July comes cookouts, time with family and the trip to the local fireworks display.

While setting off fireworks can be fun, there is also an increased risk of serious injury if firework safety is not practiced.

Chief Deputy Sheriff for the Miami County Sheriff’s Office Dave Duchak said the most recent statistics for fireworks accidents across the nation come from 2013.

“That year, U.S. hospital emergency rooms treated an estimated 11,400 people for fireworks related injuries,” he said. “55 percent of 2014 emergency room fireworks-related injuries were to the extremities while 38 percent were to the head.”

The risk of fireworks injury was highest for young people ages 0-4, followed by children 10-14. More U.S. fires are reported on the Fourth of July than on any other day, and fireworks account for two out of five of those fires, more than any other cause of fires.

“Fireworks are illegal in Ohio except for non-incendiary ones, such as sparklers,” he said. “However, there is still a risk of injury with children playing with sparklers and not really knowing what they’re doing.”

Duchak said fireworks injuries in Miami County are rare, but on the same note, the number of injuries reported versus unreported also has to be considered.

“Sometimes an injured person will go to the hospital, and sometimes if they don’t feel it’s severe enough they’ll take care of it at home,” he said. “Stats can be hard to come by, so we can never say anything for fact.”

To reduce the risk of injury, Duchak recommends parents keep an eye on children — who statistically are more likely to be injured by fireworks — and to remember that sparklers can heat up to 1,000 degrees, so it’s best to keep loose clothing and long hair tied back and watch children closely.

“We encourage people to go to fireworks displays where it’s safe,” he said.

Additionally, the Miami County Sheriff’s Department will have sobriety checkpoints set up to ensure the roads are safe as well July 4.