The next week will see many local residents take part in Fourth of July celebrations across the county. Not only will people check out professional fireworks displays at Geneva-on-the-Lake and Conneaut, but we know others will spend the evenings setting off fireworks of there own.

While setting off fireworks is illegal in Ohio without a permit, and violators could face consequences including fines and even jail, law enforcement officials’ goal is to keep people safe — not  to cite citizens having a fun, safe and respectful celebration. If police are called, it’s likely because of multiple noise and nuisance complaints. With that in mind, those who do plan to set off fireworks must do so safely and should touch base with neighbors out of respect —as well as avoid setting fireworks off after midnight. A little common sense goes a long way.

Fireworks can be great fun, but they are not toys and can be dangerous, even deadly, if proper precautions are not taken. Even a picnic staple like Sparklers actually burn at 1,000 degrees — they account for one-third of the injuries to children 5 and younger caused by fireworks. 

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said fireworks injuries sent more than 11,000 Americans to the emergency room in 2016, 68 percent of those injuries taking place around the Fourth of July holiday. Of those, almost 50 percent were to bystanders and 31 percent to children under 15 years of age. 

We urge everyone planning to use fireworks, or even be around locations where they will be discharged, to follow important safety tips:

• Never allow young children to light or handle fireworks.

• Use only legal products. Never experiment with homemade fireworks.

• Look for labels and read the instructions.

• Always keep a hose and a bucket of water nearby in case of emergencies.

• Use outdoors, only in clear areas, away from houses, other buildings and dry grass. Use only on flat hard surfaces.

• Do not try to re-light “dud” fireworks or sparklers that do not ignite. Wait 15 to 20 minutes, then douse and soak them with water and throw them away.

• Use fireworks in a clear area away from buildings or vehicles.

• Do not use fireworks under the influence of alcohol.

• Until lighting, store fireworks and other pyrotechnic items in a cool, dry place.

• Never place fireworks in your pocket or ignite them in glass or metal containers.

• When lighting fireworks, don’t hold them in your hand. Light each firework one at a time and move away quickly.

• Wear safety goggles or glasses when shooting fireworks.

With some caution, common sense and care we can all help limit injuries during the holiday week.

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