Fireworks, sparklers, firecrackers and bottle rockets can cause injuries and fires, ruining a holiday celebration. The best and safest way to enjoy the Fourth of July is to leave fireworks displays to the professionals and view from a distance, advises the International Association of Fire Fighters.
Though legal in many states, consumer fireworks are extremely dangerous if not handled properly. It’s important to take extra precautions when near or handling fireworks.
This includes sparklers, firecrackers and bottle rockets, which can cause injuries and fires, ruining holiday celebrations. Sparklers can burn at temperatures well over 1,000 degrees.
In 2017, sparkler injuries sent nearly 1,200 children to the emergency room.
More than 10,000 people are treated for fireworks-related injuries every year, with most of those injuries occurring around the Fourth of July holiday. More than one-third of those injuries involve children under 15 years of age.
Mishandled fireworks also cause fires, with July among the busiest days for professional fire fighters. Fireworks started an estimated 19,500 fires last year, including 1,900 structure fires, 500 vehicle fires and 17,100 outside and other fires.
While do-it-yourself firework displays may seem like fun, fire fighters urge resisting the temptation and instead enjoying one of the many professional displays in the community.
What Ohioans should know
Here are answers to frequently asked questions, from the Ohio Department of Commerce:
Q. Who should I contact if I find illegal fireworks or have a fireworks incident and need assistance?
A. The discovery of illegal fireworks or any fireworks incident which results in injuries or property damage shall be reported to the fire code official immediately. The local fire code official shall immediately make a report to the fire marshal. This can be done by calling the Investigations Bureau (614-752-7106) during business hours, or the emergency number (800-589-2728) after hours. State Fire Marshal (SFM) inspector(s) and/or investigator(s) will then be dispatched to your location.
Q. Does Ohio law require a license for the sale and use of fireworks?
A. Yes, manufacturers, wholesalers, exhibitors and shippers of fireworks must have State Fire Marshal issued licenses for fireworks use. Renewal for all licenses is required each year.
Q. Can I get a license to sell fireworks? A.Not at this time. There is a moratorium on the issuance of additional fireworks manufacturers and wholesaler licenses in effect until Dec. 31, 2020 (ORC 3743.75). By law the State Fire Marshal can only issue licenses on Dec. 1 of each year. If the current moratorium is not extended, applications for new licenses will be accepted beginning Sept. 1, 2021. The first time a new license may be issued would be on Dec. 1, 2021.
Q. As a citizen of the State of Ohio, can I buy and use fireworks?
A. Yes, you may buy consumer or 1.4G fireworks from a licensed wholesaler or manufacturer; however, you cannot discharge any consumer or 1.4G fireworks in the State of Ohio. You must transport all fireworks purchased in Ohio out of the state within 48 hours of the purchase. The only items that can be used in Ohio are designated “trick and novelty” which smoke, pop, and/or sparkle. In Ohio, use of 1.4G fireworks (fire crackers, bottle rockets, etc.) is illegal (ORC 3743.65 (B)).
Q. Where can I find Ohio’s laws that regulate fireworks?
A.Ohio Revised Code (ORC) Chapter 3743 and Ohio Fire Code (OFC) 1301:7-7-56 are the code references that govern fireworks in Ohio. These publications can be found online at http://codes.ohio.gov/ . Remember that the most current version of the Ohio Fire Code went into effect on Dec. 15, 2017, so make sure you are following the most current version of the rules governing fireworks.