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As Legislators Work To Change State Fireworks Laws, First Responders Preach Safety This Holiday

Jul 3, 2018

 Fireworks are things state officials say are illegal in Ohio and should be left to professionals. 

Nearly 13 thousand Americans were treated in hospital emergency rooms last year for fireworks-related injuries. Chief Deputy State Fire Marshal Bill Spurgeon says nearly half of the injuries involve young adults or children. 

Spurgeon says sparklers and snaps are legal, but can set clothing on fire and cause serious burns.  

Spurgeon says while bottle rockets and roman candles are sold in Ohio, those and other consumer-grade fireworks must be taken out of the state within 48 hours of purchase. Ohio Public Radio's Karen Kasler has more on a bipartisan bill to change state fireworks laws by next year.

The bill would allow common consumer fireworks bought at specialty stores to be used in Ohio, which the sponsors say is what’s happening anyway, even with what was called the liar’s law form. But Democratic Representative Martin Sweeney says potentially a bigger change is that local communities would be allowed to set their own rules.

“Right now, the law makes no sense and there’s chaos throughout the entire state in regards to the deployment of fireworks.”

Fire officials say that would create a patchwork of regulations – and a coalition of medical groups is opposed to the bill as well. The bill is supported by the fireworks industry, and includes a two year moratorium on new fireworks wholesalers and retailers. It passed the House by a big margin, and Sweeney hopes it’ll be voted on by the Senate after the election.