DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Independence Day is only a little ways away, and people across the U.S. are ready to celebrate with bright fireworks and sparklers, but not everyone knows the laws restricting fireworks in Ohio.
According to Major Jason Hall with the Dayton Police Department, there are two main kinds of fireworks: consumer-grade and commercial-grade.
Consumer-grade fireworks can be purchased at any local distributor and require no special licensing to town or set off, Lt. Hall said. They are also commonly sold in bright packaging decorated with stars, flags and catchy sayings.
Commercial-grade fireworks, on the other hand, are much larger and much more powerful. These are the fireworks you would see at a city-hosted fireworks show or a large sporting event, Hall said. These fireworks are illegal to even possess without a special license and must be stored in a precise manner. Commercial-grade fireworks will usually be packaged in plain brown paper with a simple label.
Another restriction regards the use of alcohol and fireworks. According to Hall, not only is it illegal to use fireworks while under the influence of alcohol and other controlled substances, you cannot even be in possession of alcohol at the same time as using fireworks.
“This one is, particularly from a safety standpoint, an important statute as the correlation between intoxication and the use of fireworks and the resulting injuries is very high,” Hall said. “In most of the instances where we have a fireworks injury, or, unfortunately, fatality, alcohol or drugs usually is a factor in those events.”
Additionally, our partners at WKBN report that no person under the age of 18 is allowed to handle fireworks or be within 150 feet of the discharge point of aerial fireworks. They also report that aerial devices cannot be discharged within 150 feet of spectators, and non-aerial devices cannot be set off within 50 feet of spectators.
Now, even if you are following these restrictions, don’t light that fuse just yet. Ohio law allows cities and townships to determine for themselves if they will even allow fireworks to begin with.
Dayton is just one of the cities in the Miami Valley where fireworks are banned.
“The City of Dayton has not been immune to some of the ill effects of improper, illegal fireworks usage. We have had fatalities; we have had serious injuries,” Hall said.
To see if fireworks are allowed in your area, click here.