On Monday, May 6, the Perry City Council approved the amendment of Chapter 125 pertaining Perry’s fireworks code.
As the Fourth of July approaches, the City Council has worked to develop Perry’s version of a fireworks plan that both restricts excessive use of recreational fireworks, as well as gives those an opportunity to enjoy the new law safely under specific guidance.
Following the recent legalization of fireworks by the Iowa Legislature, the City Council met for a specific work session with both members of the council as well as the public safety work force in order to put together a list of restrictions in the ordinance.
Recreational fireworks usage in Perry is now limited to those who are at least 18 and are only allowed to be discharged on private property or “on property with the consent of the owner.” While shooting off fireworks, the individual must not be “above the legal alcohol limit or under the influence of drugs or narcotics.”
Fireworks are now only allowed to be shot off on the Fourth of July from the times of 4-11 p.m.
“You can’t be on public property — so parks, street sidewalks, the cemetery — and you can’t shoot them off within 200 yards of the hospital or senior care facility,” City Administrator, Sven Peterson said.
A $500 dollar fine will be issued to any who break the following restrictions.
City Council members weighed in on Perry’s decision to create a specific ordinance for fireworks.
“We’re trying to be reflective of our community; there are some citizens that are against fireworks altogether, but this is kind of a compromised position,” Dr. Randy McCaulley said. “We’re being more restrictive then the legislature allowed in the new law, yet we’re also giving freedom to those people who wanted the fireworks and giving them strong guidance.”
Council members believe citizens should talk to their neighbors if they are abusing their fireworks privileges, and reach out to the police if it continues thereafter.
“If your neighbor is doing something against the law, that person should contact the police and report it,” McCaulley said.
City Council member John Andorf believes this year’s outcome will shape fireworks usage for years to come.
“I don’t want to see anybody pay that kind of fine if we can avoid it,” Andorf said. “I think probably honestly what happens next year or a year from now is dependent on large part what happens this year.”
Members agreed that if someone is in violation of the law, it’s important to reach out before contacting the police department.
If someone decides to partake in shooting off fireworks, Perry Fire Department Chief Chris Hinds wants users to be careful as small factors such as wind can affect the direction of the firework.
“You cannot control - no matter how hard you try - you cannot control where they’ll (fireworks, firecrackers) end up,” Hinds said. “Just shooting up in the air, no one can control that.”
In a previous city council meeting, Chief Eric Vaughn of the Perry Police Department expressed concerns of past instances where fireworks were shot off in parks, sometimes present around small children.
“I just cringe at the thought of kids playing with firecrackers,” Hinds said.
For those who decide they’re going to partake in recreational fireworks, Chief Hinds asks users to recognize your surroundings and take precautions.
“Be mindful of your surroundings or neighborhood,” Hinds said. “Make sure that you are prepared to do what you are going to do; you’ve take the necessary safety precautions, pets are put away, kids are back and not around.
“Keep yourself, your family, and everyone else involved safe and out of harm.”