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New year, new rules: 2021 fireworks guide

Published: Jun. 26, 2021 at 7:36 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - If you plan on letting off fireworks in parts of Nebraska or Iowa, listen up!

Some of the regulations have changed. Here’s a look at this year’s updated mandates.

Douglas County (Omaha City Ordinance)

  • Fireworks sales are permitted by authorized vendors only during fireworks season beginning Monday, June 28th through July 4th. (City Ordinance 30-261).
  • Consumer fireworks can be discharged in Omaha from July 2 through July 4, from noon to 11:00 p.m. daily. (City Ordinance 20-320). Persons discharging fireworks must be 16-years-old or older. Those between the ages of 12 and 16 can discharge fireworks only under direct supervision of someone 19-years-old or older.

The Omaha Police Department posted reminders about the city ordinance on social media earlier in the week.

Sarpy County (La Vista City Ordinance)

  • Fireworks sales are permitted by authorized vendors only during fireworks season beginning Monday, June 28th through Thursday, July 4th.
  • Consumer fireworks can be discharged in La Vista from June 28th through July 2, from 11am-10pm and July 3rd & 4th from 11a.m.-11p.m. daily.

Sarpy County (Bellevue City Ordinance)

  • Fireworks may be sold at retail in this city except daily from 8:00am until 10:00pm June 25 through July 3 and from 8:00 am until 12 midnight on July 4th.

Fireworks which are permissible under Bellevue City Ordinance are:

  • Sparklers
  • Vesuvius Fountains
  • Spray Fountains
  • Color Fire Cones
  • Star and Comet type color aerial shells without an explosive charge
  • Ladyfingers (not to exceed 7/8th of an inch in length or 1/8 of an inch in diameter)
  • Color or fire wheels

Pottawattamie County (Council Bluffs City Ordinance)

  • Fireworks are permitted in Council Bluffs in 2021 on Friday, July 2, Saturday, July 3, and Sunday, July 4, from noon until midnight.
  • Individuals must be 18 years or older to possess and discharge fireworks.
  • Fireworks may only be discharged on your property or that of a consenting property owner.
  • Fireworks shall not be discharged in areas zoned C-3 or C-4 Commercial Districts.

At locally-owned River City Fireworks, you’ll find Pikachu, explosive emoji toys, and discover a whole new meaning for ‘hot’ popcorn. Owner Dawson Mantich says most prices this year are the same but international shipping delays and shortages have caused some artillery shells to go up.

To get the most bang for your buck, it’s best to know what you’re doing.

“I’ve seen people that lost parts of hands, you know with fireworks and things like that. It’s nothing to take lightly. You have to be serious about it because it can cause injuries,” said Council Bluffs Sgt. Matt Brinkman.

Brinkman also urged people to stay at least 50 feet from the display after it’s lit and said a person can be fined up to $250 for not adhering to city ordinances.

Although police want the public to have fun, they need them to be safe.

“This is a celebration of American, but it’s not an excuse to go blow stuff up,” said La Vista Police Chief Bob Lausten.

Chief Lausten reminded people to be respectful of neighbors, veterans who may suffer from PTSD, and animals can be frightened.

Law enforcement say the majority of the public follows the rules, making the holidays safer for everyone. Something River City Fireworks says is top priority after such a rough year.

“We’re just happy to be here this year. There was a lot of uncertainty,” said Dawson.

As a token of appreciation, they’re also donating a portion of their profit towards building an accessible home for Owen Hanson. A Council Bluffs teen who was injured during a snowboarding accident in February.

As for the July 4th holiday itself and the days leading up to it, La Vista Police said they have a separate number for people to call in about noise complaints or report a violation. That number is the Sarpy County non-emergency hotline: 402-593-4111

They’re asking people not to tie up the 911 and reminding them again, not to point fireworks at people, but instead they should be far away and shooting up. Police also say do not relight fireworks if they don’t work the first time because the wick can still be charged and cause an accident.

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