A new law that takes effect July 1 allows Ohioans to legally discharge consumer-grade fireworks on certain holidays, according to information from the state fire marshal’s office.
Under H.B. 172 that was signed into law by Gov. Mike DeWine, Ohioans can legally discharge 1.4G consumer fireworks in Ohio on certain days unless the relevant political subdivision has chosen to ban their use. Under previous law, individuals could purchase consumer-grade fireworks in Ohio but had to transport them out of state within 48 hours.
Not all groups support this change. Prevent Blindness, Ohio Affiliate released statistics regarding the dangers of fireworks in the hands of non-professionals (see accompanying story).
The city of Urbana held a public hearing about the issue in which two citizens spoke. The state of Ohio automatically opts in all municipalities, but each municipality can choose to opt out of the expansion of legal fireworks. Urbana City Council voted at Tuesday’s meeting in favor of an ordinance to opt out of the new law by a vote of 6-1 with Mary Collier the only no vote. The council determined opting out of the new law will preserve city residents’ “right to the quiet enjoyment of their premises” and will “avert significant danger and property damage.”
The city of Urbana opt-out ordinance took effect June 21, after the council meeting vote.
Here’s a breakdown of what is legal and illegal under the law for municipalities that have been automatically opted in:
When can Ohioans discharge fireworks?
Beginning July 2022, unless limited by local laws, Ohioans can discharge consumer fireworks on the following dates and times:
-July 3, 4, and 5, and the weekends immediately before and after (4 p.m.-11 p.m.)
-Labor Day weekend (4 p.m.-11 p.m.)
-Diwali (4 p.m.-11 p.m.)
-New Year’s Eve (4 p.m.-11:59 p.m.)
-New Year’s Day (12 a.m.-1 a.m.; 4 p.m.-11 p.m.)
-Chinese New Year (4 p.m.-11 p.m.)
-Cinco de Mayo (4 p.m.-11 p.m.)
-Memorial Day weekend (4 p.m.-11 p.m.)
-Juneteenth (4 p.m.-11 p.m.)
Where can fireworks be discharged?
Consumers can discharge fireworks on their own property or on another person’s property if the owner of that property has given express permission for fireworks to be discharged.
Ohioans must discharge fireworks properly
Ohio Revised Code (R.C.) § 3743.45 (as effective July 1, 2022) and Ohio Fire Code (OFC) § 5626 (effective July 3, 2022) apply and can be read in their entirety on line. Relevant OFC provisions outline how 1.4G consumer fireworks must be used and stored by consumers. Some provisions in the rules include:
-No person under the age of 18 is permitted to handle or discharge fireworks.
-Persons under the age of 18 cannot be within 150 feet of the discharge point of aerial fireworks.
-No person can use fireworks while in possession or control of, or under the influence of, any intoxicating liquor, beer, or controlled substance. A person who violates this is guilty of a first-degree misdemeanor.
-Aerial devices cannot be discharged within 150 feet of spectators (this includes aerial shells, roman candles, cakes, and bottle rockets).
-Non-aerial devices cannot be discharged within 50 feet of spectators (this includes fountains, firecrackers, and ground effect devices).
Note: These separation distances – for both aerial and non-aerial devices – are increased for certain types of locations such as hospitals, schools, healthcare and residential facilities, apartment and multi-tenant buildings, military installations and railroads.
-No person can store in excess of 125 pounds (net weight of pyrotechnic composition) of fireworks unless they have additional safety measures and safeguards in place for such storage.
-Fireworks cannot be discharged indoors.
-Fireworks cannot be aimed at or discharged toward any person or object (such as buildings).
-Fireworks cannot be discharged on public property or private school property.
-Fireworks cannot be discharged if drought conditions exist or in an area where a red flag warning is in place or other weather hazard exists.
Where can Ohioans buy fireworks?
Only fireworks purchased in Ohio may be discharged in Ohio. Consumers may purchase fireworks from any of the licensed sales locations throughout the state. When purchasing fireworks, the retailer must provide consumers with safety glasses (for free or at a nominal charge) and with a safety pamphlet.
Can local officials stop Ohioans from discharging fireworks?
As part of the new law, any political subdivision may opt-out of allowing the ability to discharge within their limits so discuss with your local officials the best course of action for your jurisdiction.