Washington Evening Journal

Fairfield Ledger   Mt. Pleasant News
Neighbors Growing Together | May 23, 2018

Letters to the Journal

Jul 06, 2017

At a recent city council meeting, along with several other Washingtonians, I spoke regarding the concerns of shooting fireworks within the city limits. Here is a condensed version of what I submitted.

Five reasons for not allowing fireworks within the city limits: 1) disturbing the peace; 2) the effect on those with PTSD and other medical issues; 3) fire concerns; 4) injuries, especially to children; 5) more stress on firefighters, law enforcement, emergency rooms, general public

Fireworks are a form of disturbing the peace; i.e., excessive loud noise. They have been going off at all times of the day and night for the past three weeks all over town. For children and for those who must go to bed early due to jobs, etc., interruption of sleep is the new norm.

For those with medical issues such as PTSD, dementia, anxiety issues, etc., loud unexpected noises can cause deep trauma, nightmares, flashbacks, anger and confusion. This is not confined to the general population. Pets are also greatly affected by these noises.

The National Fire Protection Association says, “There is no safe way to use consumer fireworks.” Instead they recommend attending public displays put on by trained professionals. Fireworks cause more than 15,000 reported fires each year. I am guessing people in Keota would have strong memories of this; only last year the roof of the school caught on fire because of fireworks. A house in Cedar Rapids caught on fire this week. This is only the beginning if fireworks continue to be shot off over a period of several days, and who pays for the damage? It will be next to impossible to find the culprits when it happens. Will residents have a right to sue the city? This is uncharted territory.

The risk of fireworks injury is highest for young people.

A firecracker is 125 decibels. That can cause instant hearing damage because damage to hearing can already occur immediately upon exposure at 101 decibels. A firecracker gives a much harder bang, so it’s clear that this is a big risk of hearing damage. My own father lost the hearing in his right ear, as well as partial vision loss in his right eye, when a firecracker unexpectedly exploded in his hand as a youth. The majority of injuries involve hands, arms, legs, and the head.

Finally, increased fireworks use within the city limits puts more stress on firefighters, law enforcement, emergency rooms, and the general public due to the reasons listed above.

People will shoot fireworks whether they are legal or not. True! But, this is a whole new ballgame. The use will become much greater and the danger will increase as the level of use goes up. It will happen. We may not always hear about the emergencies that arise due to this issue, but they will be there. This a real negative for our town and the citizens who dwell here.

We live in community with each other. Nothing can be good for one if it is not good for the entire population and this is definitely not good for all of us.

Susan See



To the Editor:

I am concerned about the new fireworks policy inside the city of Washington. When our state legislators approved fireworks sales in Iowa, I wondered “what were they thinking?” I suspect that it was about “revenue,” since it usually is when they approve things that do not make sense. Now it appears that our local City Council members have decided that it will be OK for anyone to set off these loud, exploding and screaming fireworks until 10 p.m. at night. Due to the residential density inside a city, it is impossible not to disturb the peace inside the city limits. I guess that means that no one will be able to go to bed until after 10 p.m. during the new ordinance “fireworks season.” Who decided that 10 p.m. was “OK”? I am not against fireworks in general, but I know that they are dangerous and suggest that only groups with official permits, and who meet all current safety and any regulation requirements required by professionals, be permitted to set off the loud and the rocket type fireworks. If we have to allow fireworks inside the city, how about stopping them before 8:30 p.m.? I guess that all of our City Council members are either deaf or go to bed very late. Is it OK to play really loud music during this fireworks time? Can I shoot off my guns inside my yard as long as I only use blanks and stop at 10 p.m.? How about loud engines designed to make really loud noise? Is it acceptable to make as much noise as I want to during this fireworks ordinance period – as long as I stop at 10 p.m.? Does anybody really care? Is it fair for the police to restrict any other sources of loud noise and possibly unsafe practices during the new fireworks ordinance time? I have already found expired large size rockets with “screaming rockets” printed on them in my yard next to my house. Am I foolish to assume that these might be a serious fire hazard? I have also been a critic of the practice of a local church being able to get an official permit from our local County Supervisors “out of season” and when no one really expects it. I am confident that they are meeting all safety and regulations requirements, but they are loud and can be heard clearly across the entire city – until 10 p.m. No getting any sleep until after 10 p.m. that night. This is also clearly “disturbing the peace.” Don’t I have any rights at all when it comes to safety or protection from these dangerous fireworks? Thank you City Council! When there are any serious fires or injuries inside the city, I hope our City Council members, who passed this recent ordinance, will accept the full responsibility.

Does anyone else agree with me on this or am I missing some point?My special thank you to our local police department for answering all of the complaints about fireworks and trying to do what they can to keep things in some sort of control.

Their job is not easy as the current ordinance appears to allow the disturbing of the peace and for it to continue until 10 p.m.

Michael McCandless



Comments (2)
Posted by: Glen Peiffer | Jul 26, 2017 12:52
Posted by: Glen Peiffer | Jul 24, 2017 18:17

Illegal Fireworks in L.A.

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