DES MOINES, Iowa — The Fourth of July might be a little quieter this year for Des Moines residents.
“The city of Des Moines, the city council, decided that they wanted to go ahead and ban the use this year, so I know that there’s people passionate on both sides of that issue, but every city is a little bit different on what they want their policies to be. And that’s what the law allows the cities to do,” said Jeremiah Terhark, owner of Iowa Fireworks Company.
According to the Des Moines Fire Department, banning the use was more about the noise.
“We watched last year pretty closely, at least here in Des Moines, for an increase in injuries and we really didn’t see it. But I think what the city council probably did see was just a huge number of complaints surrounding the noise of the fireworks,” Des Moines Fire Department Lieutenant Chris Clement said.
The city of Des Moines joins several other metro cities like West Des Moines, Clive, Urbandale, Johnston, and Altoona that also ban the use but not necessarily the sale and possession. Terhark said even though the use of certain fireworks is banned, they are still allowed to sell them in the Des Moines city limits.
“Cities can regulate the sales of fireworks and they can also regulate the use. So there’s some things that, like sparklers that citizens can use. There’s other things like cakes and mortars that you’d need to go outside city limits,” Terhark said.
Fireworks are difficult to listen to for some people and animals. Terhark suggests talking with neighbors before setting them off, as well as checking with the city or county to determine what is allowed
“The thing people don’t think about is, it’s not just the ordinary citizen who has to leave and get up at six for work in the morning, but it’s people’s pets that are on edge constantly and those of us who have friends and colleagues who have spent a lot of time in Iraq and Afghanistan. Those people, a lot of them have PTSD, and that can really be exacerbated by things like roman candles and cherry bombs going off,” Clement said.
The Des Moines Police Department posted on Facebook saying there will be expensive consequences for not obeying the ban, writing, “The scheduled fine for a violation of this ordinance is $625.00.”