Leave pyrotechnics to the pros, city says
Medina follows state guidelines for the most part
While the city isn’t ultra-vigilant in enforcing fireworks violations, safety officials are encouraging residents to avoid them. File photo by KEVIN MCMANUS
MEDINA – A good rule of thumb – if you want to keep both of your thumbs – is don’t even bother playing with fireworks.

Heading into the season where fireworks-related injuries always spike, city safety officials are encouraging residents to enjoy such displays only when handled by trained, licensed and permitted professionals.

“Too many times, it always happens around the fourth, we go to these calls where people blow their hands or fingers off,” said Steve Ingersol, operations captain with the Medina Fire Department. “Sparklers are of particular interest, too. They burn at well over 2,000 degrees.”

Mirroring Ohio Revised Code, the city of Medina prohibits residents from possessing, selling, transporting and discharging fireworks, unless licensed by the state to do so.

Ohio law states adult residents can legally purchase consumer-grade fireworks (1.4 g or more powerful) if they sign an agreement stating the materials will be transported out of the state within 48 hours. It’s a law that doesn’t carry a lot of respect in all 88 counties.

“Novelty and trick fireworks,” according to the state, can be discharged by unlicensed individuals. Those include items like sparklers, party poppers, snappers, snakes and glow worms.

“It’s obvious our take on it is don’t do it,” Ingersol said. “If we come to your house and you’re shooting off fireworks, we do have a right to confiscate them and issue a citation.”

Ingersol said the city’s policy on responding to fireworks, apart from injury or fire concerns, is strictly complaint-based. Fireworks violations are considered a minor misdemeanor.

“We don’t go out looking for it, but if we come back to your house again, we’re taking them,” Ingersol said of both the fire and police departments. “I had some guys shooting off some big ones in Montville. I went out and said ‘put them away now. If we come back, they’re going into the back of the pickup truck and we’re going to water them down.’ No issues.”

Should a resident want to perform a private fireworks display on their own property, licensing can be granted by the state after extensive paperwork and filing for a $1,000,000 public liability insurance policy.

“It’s probably not cheap,” Ingersol said. “The permit then has to be signed by both the fire and police chiefs. Transporting it has to be done with placarding on the vehicle indicating 1.4g explosives and the vehicle can’t be left unattended. For every one inch of shell you have, you have to have 70 feet of clearance.”

Ingersol said these types of private, licensed displays are rare locally, but do occur. One is scheduled for a wedding in Montville Township in early July, he said.

Medina’s annual Independence Day fireworks display is scheduled for Monday, July 3 at Medina High School. A parade starting at the high school is scheduled for 6 p.m. In the event of inclement weather, the alternate date for fireworks is Wednesday, July 5.