GREENVILLE — For 120 years the Greenville Fire Department has serviced the community and continues to do so by including prevention and safety efforts this Fourth of July weekend.
Firefighter Shannon D. Fritz, who also handles fire inspections and fire prevention for the Greenville Fire Department, said to observe safety and prevention while grilling, swimming, open burns, traveling and using novelty fireworks.
To reduce fireworks related injuries and fire, the department urges citizens to be aware of the inherent dangers of fireworks and to attend local displays hosted by local municipalities and licensed exhibitors this weekend.
The City of Greenville will host its “A Community Fireworks Display” on Sunday at dusk at the Great Darke County Fairgrounds. Residents could enter the fairgrounds on Sweitzer Street/State Route 49 and exit on State Route 127/Ft. Jefferson Avenue. The display will be held on the south side of the fairgrounds.
“There will be a staffed engine company at the fairgrounds and the vendor will be inspected before the display,” he said. All fireworks vendors get inspected and need licensing by law. Other Darke County communities displaying fireworks are New Madison and Ansonia. New Madison’s Fire Department puts on its own displays, as its own vendor license and inspector.
“We would like to remind our citizens that the only fireworks that can be legally purchased and discharged in Ohio are trick and novelty devices,” he said.
Legal fireworks in Ohio are snakes, poppers, snap caps, whistlers and sparklers purchased at local retailers.
Some common injuries include burned fingers and chard skin. Ohio banned other fireworks not requiring a license 35 years ago. Fritz reported that the Consumer Product Safety Commission 2012 shows six non-occupational fireworks related deaths 2012 and 8,700 injuries nationwide resulting in emergency room care.
Children 15 and younger accounted for 30 percent of those injuries and more than 50 percent of the injuries are burn related.
“It’s a popular weekend for families to get together so observe pool safety during holiday,” he said.
Remember outdoor cooking safety for grilling, that the grill is a good distance away from the building, to watch children nearby, wait for grilling material to cool down before disposal like charcoal and to wait for materials on gas grills like aluminum to cool down. Fritz suggests having a water source near by when grilling and open burning, too.
People also have campfires and recreational fires and those require being 25 feet from a structure, using clean dry wood and not more than 3-foot-by-3-foot-by-3-foot area. If it’s in an approved container, that distance can be shorten to 15 feet.
“If any smoke is offensive to any of the neighbors and surrounding residents, that fire may be extinguished,” he said.
“Of course on the Fourth of July weekend, it’s a highly traveled weekend, so take a little extra time to get to where you need to go safely,” he added.
In May the department requests donations from organizations, individuals and businesses and then sends out a newsletter letting them know how much the department received and what it went toward. In 2013, it received $4,437 in donations for prevention and education materials.
“The City of Greenville Fire Department hopes you enjoy a great Fourth of July holiday. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact your local fire department.”