The debate over fireworks in Sioux City city limits has been a hot topic at council meetings for years.
"The big problem with people setting off fireworks themselves is that you know they're required by law to set them off in the backyard. But they can't keep the noise in their backyard." The fireworks ordinance in Sioux City has been a heated debate for many residents, and the Sioux City City Council is working to find common ground.
"We're taking the enforcement of compliance very seriously." Councilman Dan Moore has been working with other city leaders and Sioux City residents on a fireworks ordinance," It took us a long, many years to get where we are today. I'm all about enforcement and just following what the law is."
With differing opinions, finding that commonality and a solution all can agree on is a big challenge. "I think what's been good is that we're getting the different perspectives out to the public, and then they can decide for themselves," said Moore, "but as we've pointed out, and we have a common theme among us, I mean, safety is primary importance."
Rande Giles is an advocate for those without a voice the pets and wildlife who find the boom of fireworks scary.
"I would say July is one of the most busiest times for the animal shelter because they're constantly picking up strays and dead animals," she said. In a perfect scenario, she'd like to see commercial Grade A fireworks banned in the city, but she knows that's not likely.
"You know, there's nothing more horrible than a family who loves their pet companion is not prepared," Giles said, "especially when they're set off on days that they're not allowed to be set off on and they lose their family member."
"The safest thing you can do for your animal is to put them in a safe room in the house not outside, turn on some loud music away from the windows and keep your pet safe." She isn't the only concerned citizen speaking up for others. Mark Solheim has become a voice for veterans impacted by PTSD.
"I became concerned when I realized what fireworks were doing to our veterans suffering with PTSD," Solheim said. "The fireworks go off and all of a sudden they are thrust back into a war zone where they saw their best friends blown up and mutilated and dying right in front of them themselves being covered with the blood of their best friends."
To learn more about veterans, PTSD and how fireworks can impact our nation's heroes, click here.
He too would like to see the booming fireworks come to an end, but has worked with the city council and Dan Moore to find a solution that hopefully, Sioux City residents can support. "They don't understand exactly what kind of harm they're doing to our veterans that have suffered so much already," he said. "Time and time again. Every time these fires go off. They're reminded of what they have lived through and what they've seen I think our veterans deserve better than that."
"In Sioux City, we know that fireworks are allowed on the third and the fourth and people with PTSD can prepare themselves for that." But finding a common ground and a designated time for fireworks that people and pets can prepare for has been key.
The city is sending out flyers, posting notices at public fireworks stands and just spreading the word about the fireworks ordinance in Sioux City.
"It says fireworks celebrate respectfully," Moore said holding one of the flyers, "and it says the sound of fireworks can trigger PTSD for veterans and cause pets to become anxious."
"So we're just going to keep working on it together and we're going to agree to disagree on some things," said Moore, "but that's been healthy for all three of us."
"The whole idea I think," said Solheim, "is to make Sioux City a nicer, safer and quieter place."
"So we want to get that word out," Moore said. "Be aware of your surroundings. Be aware of who your neighbors are, and what impact that will have if you want to celebrate the Fourth of July, the freedoms that we have. Let's remember the people that helped us get those freedoms, obtain those freedoms and maintain them."
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