The Columbus Police and Fire departments are urging residents to use caution and be mindful of others when using fireworks throughout the next week while celebrating the July 4th holiday.
“We don’t want to spoil anyone’s fun, but it’s paramount people follow City ordinance and be considerate of their neighbors,” Columbus Police Capt. Doug Molczyk said. “It’s important to keep in mind your neighbors and not disturb the peace.”
Per City ordinance, consumer fireworks may be discharged between the hours of 8 a.m.-11 p.m. from June 25-July 3 and from 8 a.m.-midnight on July 4 on private property. The full ordinance reads:
“Consumer fireworks may be discharged from June 25 through July 3 between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 11:00 p.m. and on July 4 between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 12:00 midnight and for the period of December 29 through December 30 from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. and on December 31 from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 a.m. on January 1. It shall be unlawful to discharge fireworks from 12:00 midnight on July 4 to 8:00 a.m. on December 29 of that year and from 1:00 a.m. on January 1 of the following year to 8:00 a.m. on June 25 of that year.
“It shall be unlawful for any person to shoot, fire, or explode any firearms or high explosives (to include fireworks) or to carry any firearm in any park.
(‘63 Code, § 7-3-4) (Ord. 99-15, passed 4-19-99; Am. Ord. 02-59, passed 11-4-02; Am. Ord. 06-09, passed 2-21-06; Am. Ord. 11-08, passed 3-21-11; Am. Ord. 18-28, passed 9-4-18) Penalty, see § 130.999.”
It’s also extremely critical residents use caution when utilizing fireworks to prevent injury and property damage, particularly with the drier conditions Northeast Nebraska has been experiencing as of late.
“Brush fires caused by fireworks are common, and with the dry condition this year, we are expecting more to occur,” Columbus Fire Chief Ryan Gray said. “Please do not light fireworks in dry vegetation.”
CFD is recommending people light fireworks on a driveway or other paved surface, at least 25 feet away from any structures or flammable materials like dry grass, mulch and flammable liquids. More specifically, the chief noted, CFD recommends a 25-foot safety parameter for ground-based fireworks and a 150-foot safety parameter for aerial fireworks.
“I feel like the thing that is most often overlooked is the presence of a safety perimeter. It is important to keep a watchful eye on the surrounding area when fireworks are being ignited,” Gray said. “It is a good idea to assign an adult to the specific task of ensuring the area remains secure and free of people (other than the igniter) and animals.”
When using fireworks, Gray said it’s imperative to never place a part of your body directly over them or hold one in your hand while lighting.
“Fireworks are unpredictable,” the chief stressed. “Unseen manufacturers defects and other variables can cause unexpected reactions. “
But when all the fun is done, user caution shouldn’t end. The chief said it’s always wise to soak any spent or unused fireworks in water for a few hours before discarding them.
Columbus Fire and Police leaders said they hope everyone has a good Fourth of July holiday, but stressed their desire for the public to do it safely and keep their fellow residents in mind.
“We want everyone to enjoy themselves while having their parties,” Molczyk said. “We just want them to keep in mind that when celebrating to do it in a way you’re not violation City ordinance and you’re keeping in mind your neighbors.”