More than 9,600 people were treated last year in Ohio emergency departments for firework-related injuries, an increase of 1,000 injuries over the previous year. Four people died in fireworks-related deaths.
Now, with recent oppressive heat and dry conditions, experts are fearing for increased dangers and fire hazards this July 4th holiday.
State Fire Marshal Larry Flowers especially warns people to take extra precautions because of the dry conditions.
''Any spark is a danger right now,'' Flowers said. ''These hot, dry conditions, and the forecasted 25 mph wind gusts is a recipe for danger. A spark, on dry grass, fanned by winds, can quickly get out of hand and put lives and property at risk.''
The fire marshal's office advises not to burn unless it is for cooking purposes only, or use a fire pit for a recreational fire.
Hands and fingers are the most injured parts of the body and sparklers accounted for the largest number of injuries for children 5 years old or younger. Flowers noted that sparklers, often given to young children, burn at 1200 degrees or hotter hot enough to melt copper.
Fire safety tips
Keep buckets of water, a hose or fire extinguisher handy when cooking or using a recreational fire.
Move away immediately from an outdoor fire and call 911.
Howland Bicentennial events
The first stages of the history center will be displayed at 4 p.m. at the administration building. Newly framed photographs donated by the Howland Historical Society and portraits of Joseph Howland and his immediate family will be unveiled in the meeting room.
Reception and open house from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Butler Institute of American Art Howland Branch with current and former township officials with descendants of Joseph Howland and Captain John Adgate, the township's first settler. The National Packard Museum will bring a Sterling Knight and a Packard built in Howland. Take II will provide entertainment.
Descendants of Joseph Howland and Captain John Adgate will take part in the Fourth of July parade and Independence Day celebration at Richard E. Orwig Park and Howland High School from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Backyard fireworks also are frowned upon because of the amount of injuries they incur. Instead, it is recommended that anyone who wishes to see fireworks attend a show put on by a professional.
Fireworks also pose a fire hazard, especially with the dry weather, according to Flowers, especially backyard fireworks.
''Low humidity, dry surface conditions and wind gusts have elevated the fire danger,'' Flowers said. ''Do not flick a lighter, light a match or set off a firework because you cannot be prepared for what will come next because of these extremely dry conditions.''
Warren Fire Department Lt. Ted Ray said small cooking fires are allowed in the city as long as they are contained and not a nuisance.
However, once they become a nuisance, the fire department is called and it must be extinguished, Ray said.
He also said backyard fireworks should be avoided and people should stay away from holding them.
Boardman fire officials advised hat only trick and novelty fireworks items, like sparklers and snakes, can be used and all the directions and safety precautions should be followed.
Fireworks should be lit only outdoors, one at a time and never on buildings, dry grass or a building and water or a fire extinguisher should also be kept close by.
Any firework that does not light should be doused in a bucket of water, the release states.
The state fire marshal noted that there are three types of fireworks in Ohio, all of which are hazardous:
Trick and novelty items such as sparklers and snakes that can be legally sold and used by anyone;
Exhibitor fireworks which require a license to sell, purchase and use; and
Consumer class fireworks such as bottle rockets and roman candles, which require a license to sell. Consumer fireworks can be purchased by anyone over the age of 18, but must be removed from the state within a certain timeframe and cannot be legally discharged in Ohio.