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Firework Liability & Safety

from Brodbeck Porter Insurance Agency

by Bob Brodbeck on Jul 3, 2018

Technically in Ohio if you are not licensed, fireworks by law, are prohibited. The only legal fireworks are "novelty & trick" fireworks, such as party poppers and glow worms can be discharged by unlicensed individuals. Although you cannot blow the fireworks off, you are allowed to purchase them. If you want to ignite them, you must transport all fireworks purchased in Ohio out of the state within 48 hours of purchase! Are there actually penalties for disobeying this law? Yes, however, must officers will not strictly enforce this unless you are a danger to those around you. 

Now since we know most law abiding citizens look past this law, let's go over your liability when it comes to your insurance when hosting a firework party or igniting these fireworks at someone else's party. While most people understand the dangers of fireworks, many just assume their homeowner's policy will cover any damage they might cause and for the most part, this is true. However, there are exceptions, so it's important to understand your policy before you host this year's 4th of July party!

Insurance companies will look at "intent," in a lot of these situations. For example, if you light off a firework on the 4th of July and it accidentally starts a fire in your house, your homeowners policy should cover you! But if you intentionally cause a fire by setting off a firecracker, don't look for insurance to come to your aid. This also holds true if you are using fireworks illegally. If your neighbors' fireworks cause a fire to your home, then your insurance company will most likely sue them for that loss. Remember, all insurance companies are slightly different, so we recommend you call us to be sure your homeowners' policy covers firework damage, if it doesn't, check to see if your umbrella policy does. Here are a few things your insurance carrier may look at when you file a claim for firework damage:

1.) Type of Firework Used

2.) Experience and age of those using the fireworks

3.) Weather Conditions

4.) Physical surroundings of where the fireworks are being used

5.) Pyrotechnic safety precautions in place

We, as your insurance agents, never condone using fireworks because they are a big safety risk. However, we want you to enjoy your 4th of July Celebration! Make sure you give us a call and ask if you are covered for damage caused by these fireworks. Also see below for a few safety tips from http://www.fireworkssafety.org...

Obey all local laws regarding the use of fireworks.

Know your fireworks; read the cautionary labels and performance descriptions before igniting.

A responsible adult SHOULD supervise all firework activities.  Never give fireworks to children.

Alcohol and fireworks do not mix.  Save your alcohol for after the show.

Wear safety glasses when shooting fireworks

Light one firework at a time and then quickly move away.

Use fireworks OUTDOORS in a clear area; away from buildings and vehicles.

Never relight a “dud” firework.  Wait 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water.

Always have a bucket of water and charged water hose nearby.

Never carry fireworks in your POCKET or shoot them into METAL or GLASS containers.

Do not experiment with homemade fireworks.

Dispose of spent fireworks by wetting them down and place in a metal trash can away from any building or combustible materials until the next day.

FAA regulations PROHIBIT the possession and transportation of fireworks in your checked baggage or carry-on luggage.

Report illegal explosives, like M-80s and quarter sticks, to the fire or police department.

And let’s not forget the safety of our pets!

Don’t bring your pets to a fireworks display, even a small one.

If fireworks are being used near your home, put your pet in a safe, interior room to avoid exposure to the sound.

Make sure your pet has an identification tag, in case it runs off during a fireworks display.

Never shoot fireworks of any kind (consumer fireworks, sparklers, fountains, etc.) near pets.

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