Legal Pyro

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The Ohio Department of Commerce published the 2015 Fireworks Red Book which answers many questions related to fireworks made and used in the State of Ohio.

Ohio state law specifies that making fireworks is a manufacturing activity which requires a license issued by the State Fire Marshal. A manufacturer must have an approved storage magazine and have both Federal and State storage licenses. Unlike Federal law where a manufacturer is defined as someone “in commerce,” Ohio’s definition is that “making = manufacturing.” Specifically exempted by the law are certain “novelty” items including sparklers and rocket motors

Since the 1980s there has been a moratorium on the issuance of any new manufacturing licenses. This ban is renewed every five years with the support of the State Fire Marshal and the grandfathered manufacturing license holders. The State Fire Marshal has been granted the authority to issue a hobbyist variance for amateurs. This was enacted into law at the behest of the Ohio Pyrotechnic Arts Guild but only one variance was ever granted. This variance has since lapsed and repeated attempts to get new ones have been denied.

All types of 1.4g items are sold in Ohio at licensed retailers.  Discharge of these items in prohibited except when done by a licensed exhibitor. Purchased items must be removed from the state within 48 hours.

An Exhibitor’s License can be obtained from the State Fire Marshal once the applicant has completed a continuing education program and demonstrated competence by virtue of having a currently licensed exhibitor provide certification of hands-on experience. In addition to the Exhibitor’s License, there is one for Assistants – people at least 18 years old who are in training. Only Exhibitors and Assistants can be in the site area when live product is present.

There are three separate categories of licenses: Display Fireworks, Proximate Fireworks, and Flame Effects. Each has its own licensure requirements but the differences are mainly in the training portion.

Ohio is an NFPA state.

This page was compiled by Bruce Blom. You can contact Bruce at


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