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State Fire Marshal Urges "Safety First" Concerning Use of Fireworks

Post Date:06/21/2017 5:16 PM

DES MOINES, Iowa -- More than 500 retail licenses have been issued for the sale of consumer fireworks in Iowa.

“Thanks to the dedication of our employees, we have been able to establish a program and issue more than 500 licenses since this law took effect on May 9,” said State Fire Marshal Jeff Quigle. “Most states have several months to set up their programs.  Our local fire service partners have been an integral part of this program, and the fireworks sellers have worked with us throughout this process to address both the public safety concerns and the business needs of the industry.”

“Now that Iowans are able to buy consumer fireworks across the state, we want to urge everyone to think Safety First when it comes to fireworks,” Fire Marshal Quigle said.  “The baseline ingredient of fireworks is black powder (gunpowder), and when chemicals are added to the black powder, it can result in a burst of colors and visual effects, along with loud sounds.  But keep in mind that even small amounts of gunpowder can cause very serious injuries, and when the fireworks burn, they can reach temperatures up to 1800 degrees Fahrenheit, which can result in serious burns to skin and eyes, and can set homes and fields on fire. Keep in mind that glass melts at 900 degrees Fahrenheit.”

The State Fire Marshal provides some practical advice for the use of fireworks:

  • Read the label:  Each firework should give directions about the proper use of the device and the description of how it should perform, so read the label and follow the directions.
  • Avoid aerial rockets in populated areas:  The direction of travel may change after setting off the device, and could injure people or set buildings on fire.
  • Keep fountains away from buildings:  Fountains stay in one place, but they can shoot upward in the air and set buildings on fire.
  • Talk with your neighbors before using fireworks:  The noise of fireworks may disturb neighbors who have Post Traumatic Stress Injuries, and often frighten animals, so talk with your neighbors before setting off the fireworks.
  • Never point fireworks at others:  If the firework goes off early or goes in an unintended direction, it can hurt people nearby.
  • Never use illegal fireworks:  Devices with higher levels of explosives are extremely dangerous, so never use items known as M-80, M-100, silver salute, blockbuster, or quarterpounder.

Other safety information is available on the State Fire Marshal’s website:

The list of licensed sites and their locations is posted to the State Fire Marshal’s website, at

To help answer some of the common questions from license applicants and the public, a list of “frequently asked questions” (FAQs) has also been posted to the State Fire Marshal’s website:

All sales end on July 8.

Iowa law sets safety standards for the sale of fireworks.  The use of fireworks is subject to the authority of the local city or county jurisdiction.

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:

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:

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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