Fireworks and Pyrotechnics

Here is your opportunity to find out what is required for a pyrotechnic display in Council Bluffs. You will have the opportunity to review the requirements and download an application.

Listed below are some of the most frequently asked questions regarding pyrotechnic displays in Council Bluffs.

What are fireworks?
Any composition or device for the purpose of producing a visible or audible effect by combustion, deflagration, or detonation, and that meets the definition of Consumer Fireworks or Display Fireworks as set forth in NFPA 1123.
What are pyrotechnics?
The art of making or the manufacture and use of fireworks
What are the laws and codes governing pyrotechnics?
Pyrotechnic displays in Council Bluffs must adhere to rules and regulations established by the Council Bluffs Fire Code (CBFC), National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF), and all other federal, state, and local laws pertaining to the discharge of pyrotechnics. The only fireworks that are legal to use in Council Bluffs without obtaining a permit are sparklers, caps, and snakes
What is the Council Bluffs city ordinance concerning fireworks?
Except as hereinafter provided, it shall be unlawful for any person to possess, store, to offer for sale, sell at retail or use to explode any fireworks, provided that the Chief shall have power to adopt reasonable rules and regulations for the granting of permits for supervised public displays of fireworks by a jurisdiction, fair associations, amusement parks, other organizations or for the use by artisans in pursuit of their trade. Every such use or display shall be handled by a competent operator approved by the Chief and shall be of such character and so located, discharged or fired so as, in the opinion of the Chief after prompt investigation, not be hazardous to property or endanger any person
What events are pyrotechnics usually found?
Pyrotechnics are found at both indoor and outdoor events. Indoor events would include stage plays and productions, as well as music concerts. Outdoor events include festivals, Fourth of July activities and other public events.
Who needs to complete an application for a pyrotechnic display?
The only legal fireworks are sparklers, caps, and snakes. Snaps, Poppers, Party Favors and other novelties are in violation of the law. All other fireworks require a permit that must be applied for through the Council Bluffs Fire Department Fire Marshals Office.
Where do I get an application for a pyrotechnic display?
Applications may be obtained from the Council Bluffs Fire Department, 200 South 4th Street, Council Bluffs, IA 51503. You may also download a copy of the permit by selecting the link below.
Permit Application for Pyrotechnic Display of Fireworks

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How much notice is required before an event?
A minimum of thirty (30) days notice is required
What expenses are involved to apply for a pyrotechnic permit?
The permit fee is $150. Depending on the event and location, stand-by fire personnel and/or equipment may be required.

What is the application process?

All applicants must submit a Permit Application for Pyrotechnic Display of Fireworks to the Council Bluffs Fire Department. Also, a special events application must be obtained from the City Clerk's office.

An original certificate of insurance shall be submitted to the Council Bluffs Fire Department. Please submit an insurance certificate a minimum of thirty days prior to the date of the event for approval by the City Attorney.

Once the appropriate applications are made, there will be a review of the application by a member of the Council Bluffs Fire Marshal's Office.

The Fire Marshal's Office shall conduct a walk-through inspection and upon request, there shall be a representative demonstration of the pyrotechnics display.

A site inspection shall be made of the shooting area to include safe zone and fallout perimeter. If the shoot site or the pyrotechnic display is deemed unsafe, the display can be postponed or cancelled per the authority having the jurisdiction.

A fee of $150 made payable to the Council Bluffs Fire Department. Applicants shall comply with all storage and transportation of pyrotechnic materials as per federal and state codes.

All indoors pyrotechnic displays shall require a minimum of (1) one stand by fire personnel on scene. Additional personnel and/or equipment may be required as per the authority having jurisdiction. Standby personnel to be of the expense of the entity putting on display.

All outdoor pyrotechnic events shall be reviewed by the Fire Marshal's Office. A minimum of (2) two standby fire personnel and equipment will be required for events on all City-owned property. Events on privately-owned property may require the presence of standby fire watch fire personnel as determined by the Fire Chief or his designee. All standby firewatch personnel will be provided by the Council Bluffs Fire Department at the expense of the event sponsor or shooter.

For more information on pyrotechnic requirements within Council Bluffs, contact Fire Marshal Larry Wohlers at phone (712) 328-4671, FAX (712) 328-4916, or E-mail at You may also write to Fire Marshal Wohlers at the Council Bluffs Fire Department, 200 South 4th Street, Council Bluffs, Iowa, 51503.

Copyright 2012 City of Council Bluffs, Iowa , All rights reserved.