Safety is essential to enjoy the holidays | News, Sports, Jobs


Staff report

Protect yourself and your pets this 4th of July weekend by following several tips from FirstEnergy, Youngstown-based Phantom Fireworks, and advocates for injury prevention, blindness prevention, and animal safety.

FirstEnergy reminds people to be aware of potential electrical hazards associated with outdoor activities such as parades, barbecues and swimming.

Foil balloons and fireworks are two of the most common and festive ways to celebrate Independence Day. But FirstEnergy warns that they can create safety issues and cause significant damage to the electrical system when used near power lines and electrical equipment.

The metallic covering of foil balloons conducts electricity when they drift through power lines or electrical equipment. The onset of a dramatic increase in outages caused by drifting metallic balloons peaks in June or July, when warm weather brings celebrations and picnics outdoors. In the past few months, foil balloons have been the cause of nearly 60 power outages in FirstEnergy’s six-state service area.


The Ohio Affiliate of Prevent Blindness and the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital are simultaneously reminding Ohioans of the dangers of fireworks in the backyard.

According to the 2021 Annual Fireworks Report recently released by the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, approximately 11,500 people were treated in emergency departments for fireworks-related injuries. An estimated 8,500 fireworks-related injuries, or 74% of those treated, occurred during the month-long period surrounding the July 4 holiday.

Injuries in children under the age of 15 accounted for 29% of estimated fireworks-related injuries. The most commonly injured body parts were the hands and fingers, about 31%; the legs, about 15%; eyes, about 14% or 1,610 eye injuries; head, face and ears, about 21%; trunk, about 10%; and weapons, about 8%.

“Many parents believe in the myth that these products are safe to use or that small fireworks such as bottle rockets and sparklers are fun and safe,” said Dr. Leah Middelberg, a pediatrician at Nationwide Children’s Hospital who specializes in injury prevention. “However, bottle rockets cause nearly 60% of fireworks-related eye injuries and are the most common cause of fireworks-related structural fires. The sparklers burn at nearly 2,000 degrees , which can cause instantaneous skin burns and easily ignite clothing.Two-thirds of sparkler-related injuries occur in children under 5 years of age.


Youngstown-based Phantom Fireworks is the leading consumer fireworks retailer in the United States and also has statistics. He points out that from 1994 to 2021, there has been a 74.7% decrease in injuries per 100,000 pounds of consumer fireworks used in the United States, while there has been a 265% increase. consumption. It says consumption has increased from 117 million pounds in 1994 to 428.8 million pounds in 2021, and injuries per 100,000 pounds of fireworks used in the same period have increased from 10.7 at 2.7.

Phantom Fireworks urges that these safety guidelines, among others, be followed:

• Never allow children to handle, play with or light fireworks. Only adults should handle and light the fireworks. They burn very hot and are intended to be handled by adults only.

• Do not use alcohol or drugs when handling and lighting fireworks. Impairment increases the risk of abuse and injury to yourself or others.

• Obey local and state laws regarding the possession and use of fireworks and use common sense. Read all fireworks safety tips, instructions, cautions, labels and warnings on each fireworks item to understand product performance and associated hazards. Never attempt to obtain or use professional 1.3G fireworks without the proper permission, license, insurance and approved shooting site.

• Buy your fireworks from an authorized and reliable retailer. Do not use illegal explosives; do not modify any pyrotechnic device; and don’t try to make your own fireworks.

• Always use fireworks on a hard, flat, level surface to ensure stability of items. This is especially important when using larger elements that produce thrust upon ignition. Grass, gravel and sand surfaces are not suitable for any pyrotechnics, especially those intended for use in an upright position. If you’re using fireworks on grass, gravel, or sand, Phantom recommends laying down a sturdy piece of plywood to use as a hard, flat firing surface.

• Place bricks on either side of an overhead repeater, tube, and large fountain to avoid “to toggle.” Alternatively, you can bury your items halfway up in the ground or in a bucket or pail filled with dirt or sand. This will help stabilize the item during performances.

• Always keep the public (especially children) a safe distance from the launching or shooting site. Ignite fireworks in a clear, open area away from buildings, overhead vehicle obstructions and shrubbery. A minimum clear distance between the launch site and your audience of 35 feet for fountains and other ground objects and 150 feet for all aerial objects is recommended. You should avoid lighting your fireworks in an area where there is dry grass, dry brush, or flammable objects that could ignite. Never shoot fireworks into metal or glass containers.

You can find more Phantom safety guidelines at


The Humane Society of the United States points out that pets are more sensitive to loud noises, flashing lights and strong smells. On the 4th and other days when people are likely to set off fireworks, it’s best to leave your pets safe indoors, preferably with a radio or TV on to dampen out any harsh noises. If you cannot leave your pet unattended at home, keep it on a leash and under your direct control at all times.

If your pet is afraid of fireworks, seek help from a veterinarian, strongly recommends the Humane Society. There are medications and techniques that may help ease your pet’s fear and anxiety.

All pets, even those kept indoors full time, should always wear collars with identification tags. Pets that live only indoors can become so frightened during fireworks that they may take desperate measures to escape the noise, including breaking windows or door screens. Make sure pets are microchipped and the chip is properly registered with current contact information.

If an animal becomes lost, contact local animal control and surrounding shelters immediately. If you find a lost animal, bring it to the address on its tag or take it to a local animal shelter so it can be reunited with its family.


Eric Rathburn of Columbus was injured by a misfire of fireworks at a party before July 4, 2009. The fireworks ripped through the crowd, hitting his glasses and knocking him to the ground. The force shattered his glasses, cutting his right eye and causing permanent damage.

“My glasses had flown from me when I hit the ground. It was like someone punched me in the eye. After that, I saw nothing. said Rathburn. “I don’t watch any fireworks anymore. I tell everyone I know to stay away from the fireworks in the yard.

“For many of us, fireworks are a quality of life issue,” said Nichole Coleman, a US Air Force veteran from Findlay. “The issue of fireworks and the unexpected noises and flashes that accompany them are of personal concern to me, as well as to many other veterans – especially the approximately 100,000 veterans in Ohio – who have returned from military service with a post-traumatic stress. “

The size of the pyrotechnic product is not an indication of the quantity of explosive material it contains.

The main causes of injury are due to late or early explosions of fireworks, errant flight paths of rockets, debris from aerial fireworks, and improper handling of sparklers.

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