© 2021 WOSU Public Media
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Illegal Fireworks Use On The Rise In Northeast Ohio Ahead Of July Fourth

As many cities cancel Fourth of July celebrations in light of the coronavirus pandemic, illegal backyard fireworks use is on the rise in parts of Northeast Ohio.

The Euclid Police Department has received 142 fireworks complaints since May 1. That's almost four times the number of calls received in the same period last year. 

The COVID-19 pandemic could be contributing to an early start on July Fourth celebrations, according to Prevent Blindness Northeast Ohio Regional Director Darcy Downie.

“They’re not going out, there’s no baseball games, there’s no sporting events, many of the restaurants still aren’t open,” Downie said. “Many of the professional fireworks displays in the cities have been canceled because of COVID-19. We are guessing that is why people are going out and starting these fireworks early.”

Fireworks accidents often lead to emergency room visits, she said, and could put even more strain on the healthcare system on top of the coronavirus.

“Right now, we don’t need tragic visits to the emergency room because of the time and effort and the PPE resources,” Downie said.

Prevent Blindness monitors emergency visits for fireworks use in the month before and after July Fourth, Downie said.

“People are now discharging fireworks much earlier than normal,” she said. “So those stats are going to increase. We have seen an increase every year.”

A bill to legalize fireworks in Ohio recently moved through House and is now set to go before the state Senate.

It would pose a safety threat, Downie said, particularly for children.

“We don’t feel there is a safe way to use fireworks,” she said, “and we would rather have children wave a flag instead of a sparkler.”

Copyright 2021 90.3 WCPN ideastream. To see more, visit 90.3 WCPN ideastream.