Fire marshal promotes firework safety for Independence Day

Morgan Wright

With the July 4 festivities approaching, the Ohio Division of State Fire Marshal is cautioning all residents to stay safe and avoid fire- or firework-related injuries during the holiday weekend.

“The best way for Ohioans to prevent fireworks injuries is to attend a licensed, professional fireworks exhibition,” said Larry Flowers, state fire marshal, in a press release.

July 4 Safety Tips

In an effort to promote safe celebrations, cities around Portage County will host firework shows and other festivities during the holiday weekend.

• Kent – July 2.

Heritage Festival sponsored by Kent United Service Organization from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. will feature live music, entertainment and food. Fireworks will launch after sunset at the former RB&W site on Mogadore Road.

• Ravenna- July 2 and 3.

Sunbeau Valley Farm July Fest from 4 to 11 p.m. Cost is $5 per person; children under 12 are free. Amusement rides, food, live music and fireworks display.

• Stow – July 4.

Parade at 10 a.m.

• Aurora – July 4.

Parade at 11 a.m. in the Town Center and a free festival at Kiwanis-Moore Park from 1 to 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. to dusk. Fireworks at 9:45 p.m. at the West Pioneer Trail ball fields.

Legally, in the state of Ohio, the only types of fireworks that can be set off are trick and novelty fireworks; these include fireworks that smoke, sparkle, snap and snake. Any other type of firework purchased in Ohio must be discharged outside the state.

Of these fireworks, firecrackers and sparklers are said to cause the most injuries. Common injuries are severe burns and injuries to the hands, eyes and face and, if severe enough, blindness or hearing loss.

If fireworks are fired off illegally, a first-time offense is punishable with up to $1,000 in fines and six months in prison.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reported that 9,000 people were treated for firework-related injuries in 2009. Eighteen of these accidents were considered serious injuries, according to a press release.

Contact Summer Kent Stater reporter Morgan Wright at [email protected].