With new regulations set to go into effect in Ohio next year regarding the discharge of fireworks, local officials are already planning and urging safety.
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine recently signed legislation that would allow Ohioans to discharge fireworks legally around certain holidays, as well as allowing fireworks retailers to increase their showroom space.
The bill that was signed was a negotiated substitute bill to one DeWine vetoed. The part of the legislation allowing for private discharge of fireworks goes into effect July 1.
“My biggest concern is that education aspect next year,” said Napoleon Police Chief Dave Mack, who said he has also been talking to Napoleon Fire Chief Clayton O’Brien on how to address the issue.
“Especially in town, my bigger concern is making sure they’re smart, they’re not under the influence when doing it, and second of all, not allowing them to land on their neighbor’s houses,” Mack added.
The police chief said his department has had a few calls over the years of fireworks damaging someone else’s property.
“To the best of my recollection we haven’t had anything with too much damage, but we do get a lot of complaints,” Mack said.
He did point to one incident a few years ago at a local campground which resulted in significant damage being done and he said involved alcohol use.
“The measure ... prohibits the discharge of fireworks while in possession of, or under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances or on another person’s property without that person’s permission,” DeWine said while signing the legislation.
Mack said as the effective dates of the legislation get closer, there likely will be a push by his department and the fire department to focus on educating residents.
“A lot of times we might have a backyard party happening where somebody’s lighting them off, and our piece always is don’t be the guy that’s under the influence of whatever and lighting them off,” Mack said.
Once the legislation goes into effect, the days when fireworks can be set off will be:
The first day of January;
Chinese new year’s day;
The fifth day of May;
The last Monday in May, and the Saturday and Sunday immediately preceding that day;
The nineteenth day of June;
The third, fourth, and fifth days of July;
The first Friday, Saturday, and Sunday before and after the fourth day of July;
The first Monday of September, and the Saturday and Sunday immediately preceding that day;
The thirty-first day of December.
“The bill I signed limits the discharge of fireworks to the more traditional holidays that Ohioans celebrate, while recognizing our numerous culturally diverse holidays,” DeWine said.