About 9,100 people suffered fireworks-related injuries that required emergency treatment in 2018.

Ready for the red, white and boom?

Before you light that Roman candle, there are several safety measures you should follow if you value your fingers.

In Ohio, you can purchase consumer fireworks but cannot legally discharge them in state. Only “trick and novelty” items that smoke, pop or sparkle are allowed, according to the State Fire Marshal’s Office. But that does not deter the annual chorus of neighborhood blasts, shrieks and whistling noises beyond community-sponsored displays. 

About 9,100 people suffered fireworks-related injuries that required emergency treatment in 2018, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission Fireworks Injury Report. Of those injuries, 62 percent occurred during a one-month period around July 4.

Children 10 to 14 had the highest rate of injury, according to the report. The most commonly injured body parts were hands and fingers, and at least five people died in 2018 after being hit by fireworks shot from reloadable devices — such as mortar and shell kits. And the Associated Press reported that a 61-year-old Toledo man was killed Tuesday by mortar that exploded into his chest while shooting fireworks off from his backyard — an accident witnessed by several children.

Fireworks are known to cause such injuries even when people follow safety precautions, said Darcy Downie, regional director for the Northeast Ohio Chapter of Prevent Blindness. And such accidents also arise when fireworks are handled by people who do “really dumb things” without thinking, she added.

The Prevent Blindness agency opposes fireworks because of their “erratic nature,” Downie said.

Even seemingly innocent sparklers burn hot enough to cause severe injury and resulted in 500 hospital emergency visits last year. Loud fireworks also spook farm animals and pets, increasing shelter populations around the Fourth of July.

“They will run off,” Downie said.

She advised keeping pets inside or on a leash when fireworks displays occur. Safer light shows encouraged on July Fourth include nontoxic glow sticks, glow-in-the-dark paint or flashlights covered with tinted cellophane.

Phantom Fireworks, one of the nation’s most prominent retailers, sells everything from 99 cent snaps to a $1,500 “grounds for divorce” assortment. Molly Whitehead, manager at the Faircrest Street Southwest store in Canton, described the latter as a “backyard show in a box.”

Customers show a driver’s license when entering the store and receive a form about anti-terrorism and legally transporting the fireworks at checkout, Whitehead said. Each store aisle has safety pamphlets unique to the fireworks, and a general safety booklet is included with purchases.