(Red Oak) -- It won't be long before KMAland residents will witness "the rockets red glare, the bombs bursting in air."
Fourth of July fireworks season is fast approaching. Back in 2017, then-Governor Terry Branstad signed a bill allowing the sale and use of consumer-grade fireworks. However, the bill allowed for local control on fireworks regulations--meaning municipalities or counties could enact tougher laws. Red Oak Fire Chief John Bruce tells KMA News his community allows fireworks to be shot off only a few days during the year.
"For the city of Red Oak, we have July 4th beginning at 1 p.m., until 11 p.m. is when they can be shot off," said Bruce. "The other date is December 31st, from 1 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. (January 1st). That's Red Oak city code. So, I would encourage anyone in the neighboring communities to check their city hall or local law enforcement, as these codes are different at each area."
City ordinances don't cover the city's annual fireworks display at the end of Junction Days. This year's program takes place June 30th at the city sports complex north of Red Oak High School. Bruce says city ordinances also include stringent regulations on the use of fireworks.
"If you're going to shoot them off, they have to be a minimum of 50 feet away from any structure," he said. "There has to be at least one adult present, and they have to have some type of suppression mechanism--fire extinguisher--present while they're doing it.
"Now, we do not allow public property use for shooting them off, unless they file for a permit from City Hall here in town. That's your city streets, your city parks," Bruce added.
While saying he has no exact statistics on fireworks-related incidents, Bruce adds the city has had a few problems with fireworks gone awry.
"We've had some that were shot off, and they ended up on neighbors homes," said Bruce. "We're fortunate we did not have any fires, but it can create kind of a nuisance. So, our ordinance actually has it built in, to where there's any unsafe or reckless use, the police department and the fire department can come in, and shut them down."
The fire chief advises residents that safety comes first when it comes to shooting off fireworks.
"You just want folks to be responsible, and be safe," he said. "Because, it seems like every year, there is at least a few incidents of either a fire, or somebody having one blow up, and having fingers or body parts altered because of it."
Again, Bruce recommends contacting your local city hall or law enforcement agency for information on area fireworks laws. Bruce made his comments earlier this week on KMA's "Morning Line" program.