How to celebrate safely with fireworks this Independence Day

Fireworks are legal to buy in Ohio, but illegal to possess and set off. Pictured is a previous fireworks display at the Broad Street Blast at Smith Park in Middletown. NICK GRAHAM/FILE

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Fireworks are legal to buy in Ohio, but illegal to possess and set off. Pictured is a previous fireworks display at the Broad Street Blast at Smith Park in Middletown. NICK GRAHAM/FILE

As the July 4 weekend approaches, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission wants to remind everyone to be careful with fireworks. In 2020, 18 people died nationwide after incidents with fireworks and about 15,600 people were treated in emergency rooms. In 2019, 10,000 people were treated and 12 people died, the CPSC reported.

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Of the 18 deaths, about eight of the victims had used alcohol or drugs prior to the incident. Approximately 1,600 of the injuries were caused by firecrackers and 900 injuries were caused by sparklers. About 44 percent of the injuries were burns, the CPSC said. Most of the injuries were to hands and fingers, followed by the head, face, ears and eyes.

The CPSC offers tips to celebrate safely through Independence Day weekend:

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· Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks, including sparklers. Sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit — hot enough to melt some metals.

· Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy, in case of fire or other mishap.

· Light fireworks one at a time, then move away from the fireworks device quickly.

· Never try to relight or handle malfunctioning fireworks. Soak them with water, and throw them away.

· Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse. Move to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks.

· Never point or throw fireworks (including sparklers) at anyone.

· After fireworks complete their burning, to prevent a trash fire, douse the spent device with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding the device.

· Make sure fireworks are legal in your area, and only purchase and set off fireworks that are labeled for consumer (not professional) use.

· Never use fireworks while impaired by alcohol or drugs.

· For more fireworks safety tips, visit www.cpsc.gov.

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