Fire marshal encourages safety with fireworks

Published 10:24 am Tuesday, June 29, 2010

In an effort to reduce the number of fires and fireworks-related injuries, the Division of State Fire Marshal is encouraging Ohioans to attend public fireworks displays hosted by local municipalities and licensed exhibitors this July 4th weekend.

“The best way for Ohioans to prevent fireworks injuries is to attend a licensed, professional fireworks exhibition,” said Interim State Fire Marshal Donald Cooper. “Keep in mind that even trick and novelty fireworks, like sparklers, are inherently dangerous and can cause serious injury.”

The only types of fireworks that can be legally purchased and discharged in Ohio are trick and novelty devices. These include items that smoke, sparkle, snap and snake. For those who choose to have their own display using these legal fireworks, Marshal Cooper encourages Ohioans to follow some important safety tips:

Handle and discharge trick and novelty devices only under adult supervision.

Appoint one adult to be in charge. This person should know the hazards of each type of firework being used.

Carefully read and follow the label directions on the trick and novelty device packaging.

Light only one sparkler at a time and hold it away from your body and others.

Sparkler wires, which can burn up to 1800 degrees, should immediately be placed in a bucket of water to avoid injury as they remain hot for a few minutes after burnout.

If someone gets burned, run cool water over the wound for two or three minutes and seek medical attention when necessary.

Other fireworks, like those sold at fireworks stores around Ohio, can be legally purchased in the state, but you must agree to take them out of Ohio to discharge. “You must be at least 18 years of age to buy items such as firecrackers and bottle rockets at the stores you see along the roadways of Ohio,” said Cooper. “But firing them off within state boundaries is prohibited.”

Under Ohio’s fireworks law, stiff penalties can be applied for the illegal possession or discharge of fireworks. It is a first-degree misdemeanor for non-licensed individuals to discharge fireworks in Ohio, to falsify an application when purchasing fireworks, or to possess them for more than 48 hours without taking them out-of-state. First-time offenders are subject to up to a $1,000 fine and six months imprisonment.

2010 Fireworks Frequently Asked Questions

What types of fireworks can be legally discharged in Ohio?

Trick and novelty fireworks (also known as exempted 1.4G fireworks) include items such as sparklers, snaps, glow snakes and smoke bombs. In general, these can be sold anywhere in Ohio and can be used anywhere in the state. However, some local communities have passed laws that prevent these from being sold or used.

What types of fireworks are illegal to discharge in Ohio without a license and permit?

1.3G Fireworks

These are also known as display or exhibitor fireworks and include items such as aerial shells that are fired from mortars. They can only be sold by a licensed manufacturer, wholesaler, or, under limited circumstances, out-of-state shippers. They can only be sold to a licensed manufacturer, wholesaler or exhibitor. These fireworks can only be discharged by a licensed exhibitor in accordance with Ohio laws regarding exhibitions, including a properly issued exhibition permit issued by the local fire and police departments.

1.4G Fireworks

These are commonly referred to as consumer fireworks. They include items such as firecrackers, bottle rockets, roman candles and fountains. Only a licensed manufacturer or wholesaler can sell these items. Anyone over the age of 18 may purchase these items, but must sign a form certifying that the purchaser will transport the fireworks outside the state of Ohio within 48 hours. These fireworks cannot be discharged legally in the state of Ohio.

How many fireworks stores are in Ohio?

There are 42 licensed wholesalers in Ohio. A licensed wholesaler may sell trick and novelty,

1.3G and 1.4G fireworks. In addition, there are 6 licensed manufacturers. They may manufacture and sell fireworks. In total, this makes 48 licensees who are authorized to sell.