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Fireworks sales bring in $3M for Ohio firefighter training

Funds will go to the Ohio Fire Marshal’s Office and the Ohio Fire Academy

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A dazzling firework display lights up the night sky over Cleveland’s Public Square.

Josh Duke/TNS

By Jake Zuckerman
cleveland.com

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The state’s liberalization of its fireworks laws has pumped out a cool $3 million for firefighter training.

A state board is scheduled next week to authorize transfer of the money, funded via 4% tax of gross receipts of fireworks sales, to the state Fire Marshal’s office. Almost all that money is earmarked for firefighter training, with a small portion reserved for administrative costs of regulating fireworks sales.

Back in 2022, a bipartisan (but far from unanimous) group of lawmakers passed a bill granting Ohioans firework freedom. Under previous law, people could buy consumer-grade fireworks in Ohio but had to transport them out of the state within 48 hours. While more mild fireworks (think sparklers and bang snaps) were legal, your bottle rockets, firecrackers and aerial blasts had been illegal in Ohio since at least 1972.

Now, Ohioans can ignite fireworks on their property on the following holidays, so long as their local municipality hasn’t banned them:

· New Year’s Day

· Chinese New Year

· Cinco de Mayo

· Memorial Day (the whole weekend)

· Juneteenth

· July 3, 4 and 5, plus the weekends before and after

· Labor Day weekend

· Diwali

· New Year’s Eve

Nothing in the law requires the Fire Marshal to steer the money to specifically fireworks-related training.

According to the state Fire Marshal’s office, fireworks caused 128 fires in Ohio last year. Twenty-two of those incidents resulted in residential building fires totaling nearly $700,000 in damages. So far in 2024, there have been 10 incidents involving fireworks causing almost $10,000 in losses.

Tom Brockman, a spokesman for the Fire Marshal, said the money will help equip his office and the Ohio Fire Academy with funds to ensure firefighters can continue to effectively respond to incidents to protect their communities and personal well-being. That training is not necessarily related to fireworks-related episodes.

“As far as firefighter response, those actions are established by the local communities in which they serve,” he said. “That said, firefighters across Ohio are committed to responding to any incidents that put the lives and properties of Ohioans at risk. That is true on July 4 and on any day during the year.”

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