State fire marshal encourages safety this Independence Day


COLUMBUS – The Division of State Fire Marshal encourages Ohioans to attend public fireworks displays hosted by local municipalities and licensed exhibitors this Fourth of July holiday.

Trick and novelty fireworks are the only types of fireworks that can be legally purchased and discharged in Ohio. These include items that smoke, sparkle, snap and snake.

“Keep in mind that even trick and novelty fireworks, like sparklers, are inherently dangerous and can cause serious injuries,” State Fire Marshal Jeff A. Hussey said.

Marshal Hussey encourages Ohioans to follow some important safety tips:

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

• Educate yourself on the hazards of each type of device 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 1,800 degrees, should immediately be placed in a bucket of water to avoid injury as they remain hot for a few minutes after burnout.

Other fireworks, like those sold at fireworks stores around Ohio, can be legally purchased in the state but must be transported out of the state within 48 hours.

Fireworks in Ohio – frequently asked questions

Who can shoot fireworks in Ohio?

Only a licensed fireworks exhibitor can discharge fireworks in Ohio. Those interested in becoming a licensed exhibitor must apply with the Bureau of Testing and Registration, pass an exam and complete a background check. Applicants must submit a letter of proficiency in the handling and discharging of fireworks from an Ohio licensed exhibitor or possess a certified copy of a fireworks license from another state.

What is the process for holding a fireworks exhibition?

An exhibition permit is required for all firework exhibitions, which is issued by the local fire chief, police chief or county sheriff. The permit specifies the date, time, location and other parameters of how the exhibition will be executed. Applicants must be a licensed fireworks exhibitor, and the fireworks must be purchased from an Ohio licensed wholesaler, manufacturer or out-of-state shipper. Authorities inspect the exhibition site before, during and after the exhibition. Federal, state and local laws and regulations must be followed. The exhibition must also comply with the Ohio Fire Code and the safety provisions outlined in the Ohio Revised Code (ORC. 3743.50 – 3743.56). During the shoot, only registered employees and the certified fire safety official are allowed within the discharge site.

Are there penalties for failing to follow Ohio’s fireworks laws?

Yes. Most first-time violations are first-degree misdemeanors, punishable by up to a $1,000 fine and six months in jail. Illegal fireworks can be confiscated by law enforcement authorities. Violations include failing to transport fireworks out of state within the specified time period and discharging fireworks.

Where are there more resources?

Visit the frequently asked questions webpage or refer to the 2018 Fireworks Redbook for answers to more fireworks questions. Contact T&R for more information about licensing requirements or exhibition permits.