MONTROSE, Ohio — Paige Kelly of Akron and her family are excited about Ohio's new fireworks law which is set to take effect on July 1 and will allow the use of fireworks through July 5 and eight other times throughout the year, including New Year's Day, Memorial Day weekend, Juneteenth, Cinco de Mayo, Diwali and Labor Day weekend.
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Kelly and her family plan on purchasing a total of $300 in fireworks from the new Phantom Fireworks location in Montrose and believe they have worked out a good safety plan for using them in their backyard.
"We're really excited about the new law," Kelly said. "My family has been going up to Michigan to set off fireworks for the last few years now. We will have a fire extinguisher ready to go, and water, sand, or dirt if needed. The little fire pit that we have has actually grown a lot bigger.”
Antiuwan Abrams of Cleveland Heights and his family purchased $400 in fireworks and are also planning to use many safety restrictions.
"No kids around lighters or anything, just make sure you’re around adults at all times," Abrams said. "With aerial items, particularly lighting anything off like this, I would consider lighting it off in a field away from a lot of houses and trees so stuff won’t get caught on fire.”
Mason French, Manager of Phantom Fireworks Montrose, told News 5 his company has posted many safety guidelines online, along with information fromthe American Pyrotechnics Safety & Education Foundation.
“We have safety launchers that you can use as well, you stick those in the ground, you light the fuse and it’s going to go up and provide an aerial display," French said. “For all aerial fireworks, we recommend that you stand at least 150 feet back from it. We recommend for ground fireworks that you stand at least 35 feet back.”
“It’s good to consider wind because you know when the charge is airborne what direction it’s generally going to go to. Putting a brick on either side, especially with these single-shot tubes, make sure there is a flat surface that you are able to place it on top of.”
"We recommend that nobody use fireworks when they are holding them in their hand. And we urge that no kids use fireworks."
Still, Darcy Downie, Regional Director with Prevent Blindness Ohio recommends families and individuals not use fireworks despite Ohio's new law.
“With the dangers of doing this, there are no safe fireworks," Downie said. "The only thing we recommend is to do the public displays with a competent licensed operator, and even then there can be injuries."
“It’s the injuries that are concerning us the most, you know when you start allowing rockets and fountains and aerials. And so many times consumers don’t understand the risk of a sparkler. A sparkler burns between 1,800 and 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit."
“It is a very big percentage with fireworks of damage to the eyes, especially with children. According to a Consumer Product Safety Commission study, fireworks-related injuries in 2020, approximately 15,600 people were treated in emergency rooms. Two thousand three hundred of those were injuries to the eye and more than half of those fireworks injuries were to bystanders, many of them children.”
“I would tell them don’t do it, I really would, there is no safe way to do that.”
Meanwhile, residents should check with their municipalities to see if their community is among a growing number of cities that are opting out of the new state law and continuing to impose bans on legal fireworks use.
Mentor, Eastlake, Highland Heights, Brook Park, Twinsburg, Brunswick, Brecksville, Strongsville, North Royalton, Oberlin Berea, Broadview Heights Orange Village and more have already opted out of the new state law.