Independence Day is right around the corner. While the mid-summer day is typically celebrated with parades, barbecues and the display of Old Glory, one word separates the Fourth of July from all other holidays: fireworks.
Kelly Martin knows a thing or two about fireworks. For more than three decades, her family has owned and operated Kelly's Fireworks in Chillicothe.
"My grandpa started it when my mom was pregnant with me," Martin explained. "It was just called 'Fireworks' that year. I was the first grandchild born, so it became 'Kelly's Fireworks' for the second year. It's actually been a business a year longer than I've been alive. This is our 34th year of business."
Each June, the family sets up shop in Chillicothe, Trenton and Brookfield. Kelly's Fireworks began selling product on June 22 this year, and Martin says numbers are typical of what they've been in the past. Last year, sales were unusually low because of a burn ban in the area due to dry conditions.
"There was basically no rain," Martin said. "Chillicothe made a no-burn ban, which included fireworks, pretty much the first week we had opened. That affected sales from that point on. Trenton did it the third of July so that affected their end sales. Brookfield was our only stand that was in a place that wasn't affected."
This year, Chillicothe residents are permitted three days to detonate fireworks within city limits. The ordinance allows the use of common fireworks, such as firecrackers, Roman Candles, sparklers and similar devices, from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. on July 1-3 and from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. on July 4.
The ordinance strictly prohibits the use of bottle rockets, rockets of all types and size, and any and all fireworks with an aerial trajectory having a cylinder or cartridge that is not intended to be completely consumed before landing.
Martin said the most important thing to keep in mind when using fireworks is safety. She said it is imperative to detonate explosives on a level surface away from homes and trees.
"A lot of people will just put the multi-shot cakes on a gravely surface. Those are pretty powerful and can tip over pretty easy and aim toward crowds," Martin explained. "Their paper can even sometimes burn around and lay them out. It's really best to put them on a flat surface. We even put a stake in the ground and take a little piece of wire to wire it to the stake."
Martin said it is best to know the proper use of each firework to keep yourself and the ones around you safe. She said one mistake some make when detonating fireworks is placing themselves in the path of the explosion.
"Make sure that you don't, especially if you're shooting artillery shells, hold yourself over top of it," Martin said. "A lot of people will look at the tube and light it. If the fuse would happen to go faster than normal, that can blow up in your face. It's best to keep your distance and keep your arm extended. Never put your body on top of the firework."
Page 2 of 2 - Martin said those handling fireworks should always have water ready at the time of detonation.
"A bucket of water is always good just in case you would have some dry grass catch on fire," Martin said. "That way you can put something out very fast. It's always good to have a water hose handy or a bucket of water. That's also handy or any duds. If it doesn't go off, don't relight it. You should douse it with water."
In addition to the detonation of consumer fireworks, the larger Class B fireworks will be on display as part of the fireworks show at the Freedom Festival July 4 in Simpson Park. That show is scheduled to begin at dusk.