Township Administrator’s Corner

Changes to Ohio law regarding the use and sale of consumer-grade fireworks will become effective July 1, 2022. In a sweeping reversal of the long-standing prohibition on the discharge and sale of fireworks, Ohio will now follow 26 other states that have changed their laws to allow eligible adults to purchase and use fireworks on specific dates. Previously, Ohio consumers were only able to purchase and use low-grade consumer fireworks, such as sparklers and smoke devices. Although consumers were previously able to purchase other types of fireworks in addition to low-grade items, eligible purchasers had to acknowledge in writing if they were transporting fireworks out of the state within 48 hours of the transaction.

Beginning July 1, anyone 18 years of age and older may purchase and discharge fireworks in the state on the following holidays:

  • New Year’s Day
  • Chinese New Year
  • Cinco de Mayo
  • Memorial Day weekend
  • Juneteenth
  • July 3, 4, and 5, and the Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays before and after
  • Labor Day weekend
  • Diwali
  • New Year’s Eve

Consumers are limited to discharging fireworks only on their own property, or on another’s private property with the owner’s permission.

As communities learn more about the changes to the Ohio fireworks law, the legislature has allowed counties, townships and municipalities the ability to restrict the dates and times fireworks may be discharged. Subsequently, the law allows communities to outright ban the discharge, ignition or explosion of fireworks. Any action to restrict or ban such use must be done through legislative action by resolution. 

In an effort to address the inherent safety concerns about fireworks, the law prevents anyone who is under the influence of alcohol or drugs from discharging them. A violation of the statute is a first-degree misdemeanor and the offender could also be charged criminally with the separate offense of disorderly conduct. Additionally, it’s illegal to discharge fireworks on another’s property without the owner’s expressed permission. 

Firework use is dangerous by nature, and many people sustain serious injuries each year. Those who oppose the new law argue the number of injuries related to the use of fireworks will most likely increase. For those who are legally permitted to purchase and discharge fireworks under the new law, it’s recommended they prioritize safety, and have measures in place to prevent bystanders from injury or private property from being damaged.

As part of the public awareness component of the legislative change to the fireworks law, sellers must have available, or provide, an informational pamphlet to consumers who purchase consumer grade fireworks. The following safety recommendations are included in the informational materials:

  • Don’t allow children to play with fireworks.
  • Discharge fireworks outdoors in a clear area away from houses, dry leaves and other flammable materials.
  • Keep a bucket of water available in case of emergencies.
  • Don’t try to relight or handle malfunctioning fireworks. Soak them with water and throw them away.
  • Make sure other people are out of range before lighting fireworks.
  • When igniting fireworks, ensure no part of the body is extending over the firework.
  • Store fireworks in a cool, dry place and keep unused products away from where you’re igniting them.
  • Don’t light fireworks in a container, especially a glass or metal container.
  • Don’t experiment with homemade fireworks.

Guidance from the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission states people should ignite only one firework at a time and never throw them, nor carry them on one’s person or in clothing.  

As an additional safety measure, licensed retailers and wholesalers must make available to consumers safety glasses for free or at a reduced fee at the time fireworks are sold. Bath Township and its safety forces remind residents that safety should be a priority when handling fireworks. ∞