‘Everybody underestimates all fireworks’: Professionals warn of dangers associated with fireworks

Miami Valley News

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Not only are explosive fireworks illegal in Ohio, doctors say they’re also quite dangerous, leading to an uptick in emergency room visits each year. 

Ryan Konkel, EMS coordinator for Kettering Health said, when it comes to lighting the celebratory explosives, “I would say everybody underestimates all fireworks.”

He said the most common injuries associated with improper use of fireworks include burns and damage to eyesight and hearing.

“In terms of eyesight, looking straight at certain things that burn at a high temp can actually damage your eyesight,” said Konkel. “Also, having things come into your eyes, whether it’s shot into your eye or even sparklers. Having a little piece of any of that come into your eye can cause eye damage. Ear injuries are also something that can occur with fireworks. Being that close to something that loud can actually injure your hearing.”

He added, even fireworks that people typically regard as safe can present issues if not used correctly.

“Even just simple sparklers — which I know my kids wouldn’t want me to say this — but those can actually be very dangerous [because] they burn at very high temps.”

Beyond physical injuries, Scott Jacobs, community risk reduction coordinator for the Vandalia Division of Fire, said if done improperly, property is also at risk. 

“Depending on the weather and what’s around we can see anything from small trash fires, grass fires, if you’ve got a large wooded area, those can catch fire. Obviously, house fires. If we’ve got ash or lit debris that can fall on roof shingles [or] wood shingles, all of that can cause fires,” he said.

And the sights and sounds, he says, could even cause emotional stress for some.

“There are members of the community that have served for our country that may not be excited about these,” he said. “That may be something that mentally they’re not prepared for. And they don’t have control over that when you’re shooting them off in your backyard or the front of your house.”

Konkel said the best solution for preventing injuries and complications is, “to be as far away as possible.”

He explained, “Truthfully, professionals should utilize heavier duty fireworks, and they should always be used by somebody that knows exactly what they’re doing and are doing it in a safe manner.”

For a list of fireworks shows happening across the Miami Valley, click here.

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