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Ohio State Fire Marshal: Leave Fireworks to the Professionals

PHOTO: Ohioans are being reminded to obey the law and use common sense to prevent fireworks-related injuries and fires. Better yet, says the State Fire Marshal, attend a professional fireworks display instead of having your own. Photo credit: Emily Roesly/morguefile.
PHOTO: Ohioans are being reminded to obey the law and use common sense to prevent fireworks-related injuries and fires. Better yet, says the State Fire Marshal, attend a professional fireworks display instead of having your own. Photo credit: Emily Roesly/morguefile.
July 3, 2014

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Fireworks and the Fourth of July go hand-in-hand, and Ohioans are being reminded to follow the law and exercise caution when celebrating this week.

While you may hear blasts coming from a neighbor's yard, most fireworks are illegal in Ohio, including firecrackers, bottle rockets, and roman candles. Novelty items such as sparklers, snappers and smokers are allowed, but Ohio's State Fire Marshall Larry Flowers cautions they are still dangerous.

"Sparklers, for example, burn at 1,800 to 2,000 degrees, so just a quick touch to any part of the body is very, very dangerous," Flowers warns, "especially the eyes, with young people. Even after the sparkler is out, that wire remains very hot for a period of time."

Flowers says the safest route is to leave it to the professionals and attend local, licensed and approved fireworks displays.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than 200 people visit emergency rooms every day with fireworks-related injuries in the weeks surrounding the July 4th holiday.

Setting off illegal fireworks not only has the potential to harm people in your own yard, but Flowers says you could also hurt or cause damage to other people or property – and not even know it.

"Aerial devices go up several hundred feet in the air and could land somewhere, and certainly there's a potential to start a fire," he says. "We have a few of those every year – things landing on people's roofs. So, there's the potential to cause damage, set fires, or injure people in the surrounding neighborhood."

Ohio fireworks law can be confusing. Fireworks categorized as illegal can be purchased in the state, but the purchaser must sign an affidavit stating they will be taking them out-of-state within 48 hours. First-time offenders can receive fines of up to $1,000 or up to six months in jail.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - OH