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Ohio officials urge firework safety this July Fourth


We're speeding through summer — July Fourth is almost here.

Changes to state law in 2022 made fireworks legal around the holiday. State officials say you can enjoy letting off fireworks — just be safe.

Unless local laws prohibit it, you can celebrate the holiday with consumer fireworks between 4 p.m. and 11 p.m. on June 28-30 and July 3-7.

State Fire Marshal's Office Fire Prevention Bureau Chief Anita Metheny reminds everyone to use common sense.

"There are some really easy safety tips people can follow," she says. "Number one is really follow those instructions that are on the fireworks. They're there for a reason."

Metheny also reminds people to use protective eyewear around fireworks, keep children and pets away from them and don't hold them in your hands when lighting them. She also says you shouldn't set them off when you're under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Even small fireworks demand caution, she says.

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"Sparklers are considered to be one of the most fun things for kids to use," Metheny says. "But remember they should only hold one at a time. And those things get really hot. Twelve years and older is really the safest time."

Metheny also says it's important to be aware of where you're setting off the fireworks. Do so on level ground so that the path of the firework is predictable. And don't set them off near flammable materials.

"Over the last three years, there have been 80 exposure fires due to fireworks," she says. "What that means is the fireworks actually caused a fire and then that fire spread to something else. So being in a brush field — especially with the dry weather we've been having recently — is not a great plan."

Already in 2024, there have been 10 incidents in which fireworks caught structures on fire, causing $10,000 worth of damage.

You can find more information about firework safety at the State Fire Marshal's website.

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