top of page
  • Writer's pictureRome Fire Dept. Staff

4th of July Safety & Fireworks FAQ

As we approach the 4th of July holiday weekend, we wanted to take a few minutes to remind you of some important safety tips and educate you on the rules and regulations regarding fireworks in the State of Ohio.

While many public fireworks displays have been cancelled or postponed due to COVID-19, we understand there's a higher likelihood of private "fireworks exhibitions" or displays. The Ohio Revised Code (references below) strictly prohibits the use of fireworks without a proper permit.

In 2014 tragedy struck our community when Betty & Leo Sayre, an elderly couple who lived on Zola Drive, passed away as the result of a house fire. After an intense investigation, it was determined the fire was likely caused by the use of illegal fireworks in their neighborhood. This entire tragedy is proof that even though fireworks can be fun, they can also be deadly.

Link to Herald Dispatch Article about the fire ---> here.

Here's an article from WSAZ News referencing the fire & investigation:

UPDATE 7/5/14 @ 4:05 p.m.

LAWRENCE COUNTY, Ohio (WSAZ) -- A fire that caused the deaths of an elderly couple is now under investigation in Proctorville, Ohio.

According to the Division of State Fire Marshal's Fire and Explosion Bureau, the fire happened about 1:30 a.m. on Zola Drive in Rome Township.

Witnesses told investigators that the man came out of the home, but went back inside to rescue his wife who was bedridden.

The fire is believed to have been caused by the illegal use of 1.4g fireworks in the area. Investigators believe hot embers from the illegal aerial fireworks fell into the back of the house.

Debris from the fireworks has been found in the neighborhood, and more evidence is being collected.

"Fireworks can be dangerous if you are not trained to properly set them off," said State Fire Marshal Larry Flowers. "Only licensed professionals should be setting off fireworks. There is great risk not only to yourself, but as in this case, to others around you."

This is being handled as a criminal investigation. Investigators want to hear from anyone who saw something out of the ordinary at or around the time of the fire, or who may have heard someone speaking about the fire with an unusual level of interest or knowledge.

Anyone with information is asked to call the State Fire Marshal's Fire & Explosion Investigation Bureau at 1-800-589-2728.


Below is a list of commonly asked questions about the use of fireworks in the State of Ohio:

Q. Does Ohio law require a license for the sale and use of fireworks?

A. Yes, manufacturers, wholesalers, exhibitors and shippers of fireworks must have State Fire Marshal issued licenses for fireworks use.

Q. Does the State Fire Marshal issue the Permit for the Exhibition of Fireworks?

A. No. Under current state law, only a local fire and police chief/sheriff can issue permits for the exhibition of fireworks in Ohio. The applicant must be a licensed exhibitor and the fireworks must be purchased from a licensed wholesaler, manufacturer, or out-of-state shipper. The applicant must have appropriate insurance and the exhibition must comply with the safety provisions of the Ohio Revised Code and Fire Code (see O.R.C. 3743.50 through 3743.56).

Q. Can I get a license to sell fireworks?

A. No, not at this time. There is a moratorium on the issuance of additional fireworks licenses in effect until December 31, 2020. (ORC 3743.75.) By law the State Fire Marshal can only issue licenses on December 1st of each year. If the current moratorium is not extended, applications for new licenses will be accepted beginning September 1, 2021. The first time a new license may be issued would be on December 1, 2021.

Q. Can I get an exhibitor’s license?

A. Yes. For more information call the State Fire Marshal's Bureau of Testing and Registration at 614-752-7126. When application is made, you must submit a letter of proficiency in the handling and discharging of fireworks from an Ohio licensed exhibitor or a certified copy of a license from another state. The application can be downloaded from the following website: Click on the link to "Forms" at the bottom of the page. Scroll to "Fireworks Exhibitor Forms".

Q. As a citizen of the State of Ohio, can I buy and use fireworks?

A. Yes, you may buy consumer or 1.4g fireworks from a licensed wholesaler or manufacturer; however, you cannot discharge any consumer or 1.4g fireworks in the State of Ohio. You must transport all fireworks purchased in Ohio out of the state within 48 hours of the purchase. The only items that can be used in Ohio are designated "trick and novelty" which smoke, pop, and/or sparkle. In Ohio, use of 1.4g fireworks (fire crackers, bottle rockets, etc.) is illegal. (R.C. 3743.65 (B))

Q. Where can I find Ohio's laws that regulate fireworks?

A. The laws are set out in the Ohio Revised Code, Chapter 3743 and in the Ohio Fire Code under Chapter 33.

Q. What are the continuing education requirements for Manufacturers?

A. Each year, manufacturers shall attend a continuing education program approved by the State Fire Marshal. Within one year after attending the program, the manufacturer shall conduct in-service training for the firm’s other employees regarding the material presented during the manufacturer’s continuing education class.

Q. What are the continuing education requirements for wholesalers?

A. Each year, wholesalers shall attend a continuing education program approved by the State Fire Marshal. Within one year after attending the program, the wholesaler shall conduct in-service training for the firm’s other employees regarding the material presented during the wholesaler’s continuing education.

Q. What are the continuing education requirements for exhibitors?

A. Exhibitors shall attend a continuing education program approved by the State Fire Marshal once every three years. The program shall consist of at least six hours of instruction. A licensed exhibitor or the exhibitor’s designee who attends a required program shall, within one year after attending the program, and on an annual basis during the following two years, conduct in-service training for other employees of the licensee.

Q. Can a licensed exhibitor acquire and use 1.4g fireworks at an outdoor permit?

A. Yes, a licensed exhibitor may acquire 1.4g fireworks for use at an outdoor public fireworks exhibition, as long as that exhibitor has a fireworks exhibition permit through the Authority Having Jurisdiction.

Q. Does an exhibitor need to register all employees?

A. Yes. The exhibitor shall annually register with the State Fire Marshal all employees who assist the licensed exhibitor in conducting fireworks’ exhibitions. At the time of registration, the exhibitor must provide written verification that the employee completed a minimum of three hours in-service education in the safe operation of a public display. You can obtain a registration form by clicking here. The employee must be registered with the State Fire Marshal at least 14 days prior to assisting the licensed exhibitor in conducting a fireworks’ exhibition. An employee, once registered, can work for any Ohio licensed exhibitor. Only exhibitors, registered employees, and fire inspectors shall be permitted within the discharge perimeter of an exhibition. (R.C. 3743.56)

Q. Can a licensed exhibitor store 1.4g and 1.3g in an ATFE approved magazine at his/her residence or other location?

A. No. Only licensed wholesalers and manufacturers can store 1.4g or 1.3g fireworks in Ohio. An Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) may issue a TEMPORARY storage permit for fireworks to be used in a specific exhibition at the same time they issue a Permit for the Exhibition of Fireworks for the same site area of the actual scheduled exhibit. Pre-exhibition storage can be for up to 72 hours.

Q. Can a licensed exhibitor purchase fireworks from a company in another state?

A. Ohio licensed exhibitors have only three options from which to purchase 1.3G, 1.4G, and/or 1.4S fireworks:

  • Ohio licensed wholesalers

  • Ohio licensed manufacturers

  • Out-of-state shippers with an Ohio permit

Q. What documents do I need to follow if I am an exhibitor, wholesaler, manufacturer, out-of-state shipper, or a fire inspector as it relates to the use, possession, transportation or sale of fireworks?

A. Both federal and state law regulates fireworks. Most federal regulations are listed in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). State regulations are contained in the Ohio Revised Code (ORC) and the Ohio Administrative Code (OAC), also known as the Ohio Fire Code (OFC). The OFC adopts, by reference, certain National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Standards, which have the full force of law in Ohio. The most important to know are:


  • Title 16 (Consumer Products) of the CFR, including part 1507 (Fireworks Devices)

  • Title 27 (Commerce in Explosives) of the CFR, including part 555

  • Title 49 (Transportation) of the CFR, including parts 172, 173 and 174

  • Federal Explosive Law and Regulations (orange book) ATF P 5400.7, Title 27, Part 55 (09/00)


  • Ohio Revised Code, Chapter 3743.

  • Ohio Fire Code, Rule 1301:7-7-33.

  • NFPA 1123, Code for Fireworks Display 2006 1

  • NFPA 1124, Code for Transportation and Storage 2006 1

  • NFPA 1126, Standards Before a Proximate Audience 2006 1

Call 1-800-344-3555 to order copies of the NFPA Guides

Please check the SFM's website at for the latest information on the effective date of any new rules.

Q. I want to have a fireworks show, for my guests, on private property. Do I need to have a permit?

A. Yes, all fireworks exhibitions shall follow the rules and regulations contained in both federal and state law. An Ohio licensed exhibitor must conduct such an exhibit. The exhibition permit and checklist must be completed by the Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) and returned to the State Fire Marshal’s Office. An Inspector must be assigned to the exhibition.

Q. Why are there so many rules and regulations for fireworks?

A. The primary laws regulating fireworks in Ohio are contained in ORC Chapter 3743 consisting of laws passed by the Ohio legislature. The OFC is written to supplement the provisions of the ORC. As required by the ORC, the OFC incorporates several NFPA Standards. These laws exist to protect the public and to regulate the fireworks’ industry in a fair manner.

Q. What is the difference between 1.3G, 1.4G and 1.4S fireworks?

A. 1.3G fireworks are used by Ohio licensed exhibitors and sometimes are called display fireworks. They are regulated as to use and storage by the state and ATFE. It is illegal for anyone to possess, use or store 1.3G fireworks in Ohio unless you are licensed as a manufacturer or wholesaler of fireworks. An exhibitor must have a permit issued for a fireworks' exhibition before he can possess and use 1.3G fireworks.

1.4G fireworks may be found in a licensed fireworks’ showroom and sold to the public at various retail locations across Ohio. 1.4G fireworks are sometimes called consumer fireworks. If you chose to purchase 1.4G fireworks, you have 48 hours to take the fireworks out of Ohio. It is illegal for anyone to use (discharge, ignite or explode) 1.4G fireworks in the State of Ohio.

1.4S fireworks are Special Effects Fireworks, not available to the general public and are used indoors by Ohio licensed pyrotechnic exhibitors. Some special effects fireworks can be labeled 1.4G and classified as "Article, Pyrotechnic" UN0431 and not sold to the general public.

Q. Does a licensed Ohio exhibitor need an additional license to use flame effects at a pyrotechnics exhibition?

A. Yes. A Flame Effect License is needed to shoot open flames generated by propane liquid, butane, methane or natural gas. An Ohio flame effect exhibition is regulated by OFC Section 1301:7.7.33(L). Permits for such exhibitions must be obtained from the local fire official of the jurisdiction where the exhibition is scheduled to occur.

Q. Are M80’s, M100’s Quarter sticks considered fireworks?

A. M80’s and similar devices are considered "explosives" and not fireworks. The US Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) banned these devices in 1966 under the Child Protection Act (T16 CFR 150-1507). Cherry Bombs, Silver Salutes, M80’s, M100’s and Quarter Sticks contain explosive composition in excess of the limits set by CPSC. In 1976, it was determined by CPSC that no more than 50 milligrams of powder can be used in 1.4G fireworks (consumer) and the fuse will have at least 3 seconds, but not longer than 9 seconds. If law enforcement or the AHJ seizes M-80’s from a subject, that person may be charged with possession and use of explosives rather than a fireworks’ violation. Charges could (depending on the circumstances) be a violation of ORC 2923.17 A & B, Unlawful Possession of a Dangerous Ordinance, (F5). Charges can also be Possessing Criminal Tools (M1) as set out in 2923.24(B)(1). Additionally, these devices are a violation of Federal Law.

For more information please give us a call at 740-886-6770 or email

1,867 views0 comments


bottom of page