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Iowa Department of Public Safety
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Des Moines, Iowa 50319

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For immediate release:  
June 12, 2017


Fireworks Licensing Increasing in Iowa

-- The State Fire Marshal reports that 188 licenses to sell consumer fireworks have been issued, including:

127 licenses for permanent sites, including limited quantity licenses
  61 licenses for temporary sites

An additional 39 licenses are ready to be issued upon receipt of payment, and 6 more can be issued when the inspections are completed.  There are an additional 117 applications that are currently in process because additional information has been requested to complete the application.  Although information on 1,128 sites was initially received, only 347 applications were actually filed.

Sales at temporary sites will begin tomorrow, Tuesday, June 13.

Sales at permanent sites began on June 1.  The first license was issued on June 1, 2017.

All sales end on July 8, 2017.

Licensing includes permanent sites (buildings that meet safety standards), and temporary sites (tents, stands, or other temporary structures that meet safety standards).  Some of the sites are licensed as exempt-amount sites, which allows only a limited amounts of fireworks to be sold at that location).  Wholesalers who sell fireworks to retailers also must register with the State Fire Marshal, but wholesalers can sell only to retailers and are not permitted to sell fireworks to individuals.  There are currently 14 fireworks wholesalers that have been registered.

The Iowa law allows non-profit groups to sell fireworks.  Non-profit groups can operate a site on their own, or the group can work with a licensed seller who will share profits with the non-profit group.  The licensee must be on-site if another group is selling under that license, or otherwise, both the retailer and the non-profit group must be licensed.

Sellers also may choose to sell either first-class consumer fireworks or second-class consumer fireworks.  The type of fireworks will not affect the licensing, but there are different licensing fees.

First-Class Consumer Fireworks include:
1. Aerial shell kits and reloadable tubes.
2. Chasers.
3. Helicopter and aerial spinners.
4. Firecrackers.
5. Mine and shell devices.
6. Missile-type rockets.
7. Roman candles.
8. Sky rockets and bottle rockets.

Second-Class Consumer Fireworks include:
1. Cone fountains.
2. Cylindrical fountains.
3. Flitter sparklers.
4. Ground and hand-held sparkling devices, including multiple tube ground and hand-held sparkling devices that are manufactured in accordance with APA 87-1, section 3.5.
5. Ground spinners.
6. Illuminating torches.
7. Toy smoke devices that are not classified as novelties pursuant to APA 87-1, section 3.2.
8. Wheels.
9. Wire or dipped sparklers that are not classified as novelties.

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.  The list of licensed retailers is posted on the State Fire Marshal website at http://www.dps.state.ia.us/fm/building/licensing/Fireworks/CF-Licensed-Sites.pdf 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.

“We have had our staff working on evenings and weekends to review site plans,” Fire Marshal Quigle said.  “The less experienced applicants have found it more difficult to meet the safety standards for their permanent sites, and also for some of the temporary sites.  Those site plans are taking longer to review, and we are working with applicants to make changes in order to provide a safe place for the sale of fireworks,” he said.  “We also have been overwhelmed by the sheer number of applications that have been submitted.  This past weekend, we made great progress,” he said.

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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