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Don’t celebrate July 4th in the emergency room

July 3, 2011
Morning Journal News

Americans literally get a bang from the holiday we're celebrating Monday.

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 nation's 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.

Salem will be hosting a fireworks display at dusk today in celebration of the holiday. East Palestine and Columbiana will put their illuminations off at 10 p.m. Monday. In neighboring counties, Toronto will light up the skies at dusk Monday and Chester, W.Va. will set fireworks off between 9:30 and 10 p.m. on the holiday.

Ohio's 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. It's 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 three fireworks-related deaths in 2010. An estimated 8,600 injuries were treated and of those injuries, 40 percent were children under the age of 15.

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

And, if you're planning to drink this weekend, be sure you don't get behind the wheel. The Ohio State Highway Patrol is warning motorists to not drive impaired this July 4th weekend. Troopers will be out in full force removing impaired drivers from Ohio's roadways. If you are driving drunk you will be arrested.

Fourth of July weekend is traditionally a dangerous holiday period on Ohio roads, particularly for impaired driving.

Last July 4th holiday, troopers arrested 611 drivers for OVI during the holiday weekend.

Regardless of how you choose to celebrate our nation's 235th birthday, may it be a safe and happy one.



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