When Can Fireworks Legally Be Shot Off in Black Hawk County?
The new Iowa law allowing the use of fireworks in the state is creating a few growing pains. The biggest question is when can you legally use them?
It's a far cry from the snakes, sparklers and caps that were about the only things legal in the Hawkeye state, but the new law changed all that. Now fireworks enthusiasts have 63 days, as per state law, to create their own fireworks display, but each city can opt out, but they must allow the sale of fireworks.
Some cities in the state have opted out of the state law, which has created some confusion for Black Hawk County residents as to when it is legal to shoot off their new found toys. Waterloo is among the cities that have altered the legal dates of usage, but its neighboring communities have not.
The state laws outlines the follow days for legal usage of fireworks in 2017: June 1 through July 8 and again from Dec. 10 through Jan. 3 (2018). The following times were included in the law: 9:00 AM - 10:00 PM (exceptions include July 1,2, and 8 from 9:00 AM - 11:00 PM).
The cities of Cedar Falls, Evansdale and Hudson, and rural Black Hawk County follow the state-wide ordinance. That is not the case in Waterloo.
Waterloo opted out of those dates, and voted for a different set of dates. In the city of the Waterloo, fireworks can only be used or exploded within city limits from June 30th thru July 4th. The times vary slightly per day in 2017.
The more restrictive ordinance has kept police busy in Waterloo. Since June 1, officers have responded to more than 150 calls for service relating to fireworks complaints in the city.
Waterloo Fire Chief Pat Treloar told Townsquare Media Waterloo that on June 30, fireworks can be exploded between 9:00 AM and 10:00 PM. On July 1, 2, & 4, 9:00 AM - 11:00 PM will be the legal time. On July 3, the time is set for 9:00 AM - 10:00 PM.
Treloar added that the city expected close to 15 fireworks stands will be open for business in Waterloo by the weekend.
"The vendors have been good to work with," Treloar stated. "The state fire marshal has inspected the stands, and we've inspected the stands. They (stand owners) are doing their job to follow the law."
Waterloo Fire Rescue circulated some 'Fireworks Quick Tips', which serve as a good reminder that fireworks can be very dangerous if not handled properly.
- Follow the directions on the fireworks packages and know what your fireworks will do. Does it explode, launch high into the sky, display, etc.?
- Never try to re-light a dud.
- Talk with your neighbors before setting off fireworks. Be respectful and let them know when you will be setting off fireworks.
- Follow the law and city ordinances. Never use illegal fireworks like M-80s.
- Never use fireworks while you're intoxicated or impaired.
- Never disassemble or alter fireworks.
- Only individuals 18 and over may purchase fireworks.
- Have a garden hose or fire extinguisher close by when using fireworks.
- Do not launch fireworks from your hand, or any other body part.
“We want all of our residents (of Waterloo) to have a fun, and safe celebration of the Fourth of July.” - Fire Chief Treloar
If you need additional information, please contact your city's fire department.