Celebrate the nation’s 237th birthday safely

Americans literally get a bang from the holiday were celebrating Wednesday.

Even though it is illegal to detonate them in Ohio, fireworks will be booming and banging throughout the day and night.

If all the noise annoys you, blame it on our second president, John Adams. It was Adams who suggested that fireworks be used to celebrate the nations birthday. Writing to his wife about the Fourth of July, shortly after having signed the Declaration of Independence, Adams said, I believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be celebrated by pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations (fireworks) from one end of this continent to the other…

And thus, the idea of celebrating the July Fourth holiday with fireworks was born and fireworks remain a holiday staple today.

In Salem, the Salem-Perry Township Crime Watchs National Night Out celebration will be held at Memorial Park, beginning at 3:30 p.m. today. Food, childrens activities, entertainment and a car cruise will be followed by fireworks at dusk tonight.

East Palestine and Columbiana will put their illuminations off at 10 p.m. Thursday. In neighboring communities, Toronto will light up the skies at dusk Saturday and Chester, W.Va. will set fireworks off at 10 p.m. on Thursday.

Ohios strange law allows fireworks to be sold in our state, but you must agree to take them out of Ohio to discharge them. The law spells out stiff penalties for the illegal possession or discharge of fireworks. Its a first-degree misdemeanor for non-licensed persons to discharge fireworks within the state, to falsify an application when purchasing fireworks, or to keep them here for more than 48 hours without taking them out-of-state. First-time offenders are subject to up to a $1,000 fine and six months imprisonment.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission reports there were six fireworks-related deaths in 2012. An estimated 8,700 injuries were treated in hospital emergency rooms during the calendar year and of those injuries, about 60 percent were reported during the July 4th celebration period..

So keep this in mind and detonate personal fireworks safely if youre one of the thousands who will opt to ignore the law and host a private fireworks display.

And, if youre planning to drink during this holiday period, be sure you dont get behind the wheel.

The Fourth of July is traditionally a dangerous holiday period on Ohio roads, particularly for impaired driving. According to the Ohio State Highway Patrol, last July 4th holiday, troopers arrested 263 drivers for OVI from Tuesday, July 3 at midnight through Wednesday, July 4 at 11:59 p.m. During this time impaired-driving was responsible for 87 crashes statewide.

Troopers will be out in full force looking for impaired drivers on Ohios roadways during the holiday.

Regardless of how you choose to celebrate our nations 237th birthday, may it be a safe and happy one.