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Iowa Department of Public Safety
215 East 7th Street
Des Moines, Iowa 50319
www.dps.state.ia.us

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For immediate release:  
   
June 5, 2017

 

Progress Made for
Fireworks Sales in Iowa


DES MOINES, Iowa
-- The State Fire Marshal is processing dozens of applications to permit the sale of consumer fireworks, and expects hundreds more in the next 10 days.

In the first five days, 7 retail licenses were issued, and 11 wholesalers were registered.  The State Fire Marshal reports that it has received 168 retail applications.  Of those, 7 licenses were issued, 77 are awaiting site-plan review, 21 have been approved and are awaiting payment, 10 have been required to resubmit their site plans, 3 site plans have been disapproved, and 45 applications have been started but have not yet been submitted.  Based on the filings, the State Fire Marshal expects to see nearly 1,000 sites where fireworks will be sold in Iowa.

“Our employees processed applications over the weekend, and we’ll continue to put in long hours in the upcoming weeks,” said State Fire Marshal Jeff Quigle.  Sales from permanent structures are allowed between June 1 and July 8 each year, by licensed businesses and community groups.

“We continue to add to our website,” Quigle said.  “Beginning this week, we will update the list of licensed sites every day, and post the list on our website.  We are also posting some Frequently Asked Questions, to answer many of the questions that we have received.  Some of the fireworks sellers with limited experience have struggled to understand the rules.  We are looking at options for helping them to demonstrate in their site plan that they can meet the baseline safety requirements needed to get a license.”

“Our number one goal is safety, and the licensing process is designed to add safety to the sales of consumer fireworks.  We want Iowans to have fun, and we also want them to be safe,” Quigle said.

The law requires every licensee to post their license at the specific location where they are selling consumer fireworks.  “When people are buying fireworks, we want them to know that the business is properly licensed.  They can check our website to see who is licensed and where, and they can look for that the physical license to be displayed when they go to the business to buy fireworks.”

The website includes a copy of sample licenses.  Every licensee is required to display a license at the place where the fireworks are sold.  Businesses and individuals who operate more than one location must get a license for each location.

Quigle reports that a number of applications have been rejected, because some applicants have provided a site plan that does not meet the safety requirements set out in the law.  “We are looking at the patterns in the failures,” Quigle said.  “We work with each individual whose plan did not meet the requirements, but we also will provide additional guidance on our website, to help other applicants better understand what they need to do to get a license.”

The licensing process also includes an on-site inspection, and the State Fire Marshal has coordinated on-site inspections, by local fire departments and by Department of Public Safety employees.  All inspectors have received training regarding the inspection process and the requirements for licensing under Iowa law.

Sales of consumer fireworks are allowed between June 1 and July 8 each year, and from December 10 to January 3.  Temporary stands can be used for consumer fireworks sales between June 13 and July 8.

The online portal allows fireworks wholesalers to register in Iowa, so that they can provide consumer fireworks to retail sellers.  Information about the licensing and registration appears online: http://www.dps.state.ia.us/fm/building/licensing/consumerfireworksindex.shtml

The online licensing and registration program implements Senate File 489, which was signed into law on May 9, 2017.  The new law allows for the sale of consumer fireworks by persons or companies licensed by the State Fire Marshal.  Any restrictions on the use of fireworks are determined by city and county officials.  Emergency Administrative Rules are available online: https://www.legis.iowa.gov/law/administrativeRules/emergencyDocs

Consumer fireworks include such things as roman candles, bottle rockets, firecrackers, and ground spinners.  Previously, the only fireworks that were legal in Iowa were novelties such as sparklers, caps and snakes. Iowa joins 43 other states and the District of Columbia in legalizing the sale of consumer fireworks.

Display fireworks are the pyrotechnics that municipalities and businesses use for large-scale public displays – require licensed operators to discharge the fireworks show.  The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms regulates the use of display fireworks.  City and county officials also may restrict or prohibit the use of display fireworks.

 

 

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