DEAR SHERIFF: What are the fireworks regulations for those living outside the municipal limits in Elkhart County?
ANSWER: Noise is a quality-of-life issue. Many neighborhoods can be plagued by the inappropriate and incessant use of fireworks, keeping families up at night and disturbing the peace. The County Commissioners, the legislative body at the county level, adopted a county ordinance in 2007 regulating the use of consumer fireworks, pursuant to state law authorizing them to do so.
Consumer fireworks, defined by state law, include such items as: Aerial devices, which include sky rockets, missile-type rockets, helicopter or aerial spinners and Roman candles; ground audible devices, which include firecrackers, salutes and chasers; and firework devices containing combinations of the effects described above. Essentially, fireworks that will explode or fly uncontrollably through the air are in the category of consumer fireworks.
The ordinance allows consumer fireworks to be used between 5 p.m. and two hours after sunset on June 29, June 30, July 1, July 2, July 3, July 5, July 6, July 7, July 8 and July 9. Between 10 a.m. and midnight on July 4, and between the hours of 10 a.m. Dec. 31 and 1 a.m. Jan. 1. If you reside in a city, please check with city officials, as their fireworks’ ordinance may be more restrictive.
Just because you are within an appropriate time for fireworks, does not mean you can shoot these fireworks over your neighbor’s home or property. Many calls for sheriff deputies are for this very reason. Be respectful of others’ property.
Consumer fireworks do not include: Dipped sticks, wire sparklers, cylindrical fountains, cone fountains, illuminating torches, wheels, ground spinners, flitter sparklers, snakes or glow works, smoke devices and trick noisemakers, including party poppers, snappers and trick matches. Total pyrotechnic composition may not exceed 100 grams per item. Devices containing chlorate or perchlorate salts may not exceed 5 grams in total composition per item.