This display of fireworks on Canada Day was just one of three discharge permits issued in 2020 within the town limits, meaning many of the incidents in recent weeks are not following the rules. File photo

Setting off fireworks needs to be done legally

It’s becoming an issue withing the Town of Ponoka

In recent weeks, as the nights got warmer and the sky was clear, there has been some fireworks going off in several areas inside the Ponoka town limits.

However, many of those incidents have been done illegally as any discharge of fireworks needs a rather easy to apply for permit.

According to the fire services quality management plan (QMP) agreement between the four area municipalities — towns of Ponoka and Rimbey, Ponoka County and the Summer Village of Parkland Beach — a permit to discharge fireworks is required.

“When someone purchases fireworks at retailers within these four communities, the purchase permit that is filled out has on it — three times in bold lettering — that a discharge permit is still required,” explained Ponoka County regional fire chief Dennis Jones in an interview.

“Additionally, the purchase permit and the discharge permit — which can be easily obtained through the Ponoka County website or on the mobile app — both outline the Alberta Fire Code regulations and setbacks that must be adhered to for discharging any fireworks in the four municipalities.”

Those regulations include that the person discharging the fireworks must either own the land or have permission to fire them from the landowner and maintain the proper setbacks such as 10m from any building, vehicle, trailer or portable shelter, 200m from any place that stores flammable or combustible liquids or explosives and 250m from any health or seniors care facility.

Jones said it’s really simple to get a discharge permit, but the challenge seems to be getting people to apply and also follow the setback rules.

“It’s a quick and easy as logging onto the app and, if there are no issues, it’s instantly approved,” he said.

“My hope is that this will bring some more awareness and education so that people can do it safely and within the rules.”

Discharge permit applications can be found by going to www.ponokacounty.com and following the links or on the county’s free mobile app available for android and Apple devices.

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