YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The Fourth of July is almost here and this weekend, many people will be setting off fireworks in their backyards. The problem is, setting off anything other than sparklers and fountains in Ohio is still illegal.
“Every year, there’s probably about 2,000 house fires in the U.S. alone because of fireworks being mishandled,” said Youngstown Fire battalion chief Charles Smith.
Backyard fireworks are often paired with July 4th barbecues but for safety, firefighters encourage people to enjoy a show from the professionals in their area.
“The most important thing is to leave it to professionals and let them do their job to entertain the public,” Smith said.
He said more than 10,000 people are treated for fireworks-related injuries every year and most of them happen on the Fourth of July.
Sparklers, which are allowed in Ohio, are among the leading causes of injury.
“Those are over a thousand degrees when they’re lit and, basically, 1,200 kids go to the emergency room every year because of sparklers alone,” Smith said.
While a bill has passed the state House to make fireworks legal in Ohio, it hasn’t gone through the state Senate, meaning fireworks are still illegal.
But if you plan to set them off anyway, Smith said it’s important to be very careful and follow the directions.
“Take precautions. Read what the warnings are on the packages and keep a proper distance when fireworks are lit.”