FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – The Indiana Department of Homeland Security (IDHS) announced that it has issued more than 150 permits for public firework displays despite many communities cancelling their firework events to adhere to social distancing recommendations.

IDHS announced Tuesday that while they have the authority to give permits for firework displays, it is the communities and hosts who decide if the firework displays are cancelled.

“This is always a very busy time for our staff,” said Indiana Fire Marshal Joel Thacker. “If we continue to progress as we have according to the Back on Track plan, we look forward to helping those communities that choose to continue their holiday display do so in a safe and fun way.”

While just over a month away from one of the biggest firework displays across the nation, many communities are choosing to cancel their Independence Day celebrations.

Governor Eric Holcomb’s Back on Track plan establishes July 4 as the tentative date to lift crowd restrictions, if the data related to the COVID-19 pandemic supports that action. Social distancing guidelines would still apply if the crowd restrictions are lifted.

Thacker added, “Communities will need to plan for the necessary changes this year to conduct a safe display due to COVID-19. Our staff will provide any guidance and assistance it can for those communities hoping to continue their annual events.”

WANE 15 contacted the City of Fort Wayne regarding the annual display downtown and were told it’s still scheduled, however specific details have not been released.

Indiana law requires permits to host firework displays. In 2019, IHDS issued about 500 public display permits for communities across Indiana.The agency also permits costumer retail sellers and wholesale sellers of fireworks. More information about the permitting and rules associated with fireworks can be found on the IDHS website.

Firework safety and education are a major focus for the IDHS and the Indiana State Fire Marshal. A list of safety tips for Hoosiers were given:

  • Use extreme caution when lighting fireworks in the wind. Keep spectators where the wind is blowing smoke and debris away from them.
  • Never smoke or consume alcohol when lighting fireworks.
  • Store fireworks in a cool, dry place away from the reach of children.
  • Steer clear of others setting off fireworks. They can backfire or shoot off in the wrong direction.
  • Do not attempt to make or alter any fireworks or firework devices.
  • Always have a fire extinguisher or water supply, such as a hose or bucket of water, nearby.
  • Only light one firework at a time and never attempt to re-light or fix a “dud” firework.
  • Be considerate of individuals with PTSD and other types of medical conditions. The noise can cause severe stress and reaction in neighbors.
  • Think about pets. Animals have sensitive ears and can be very frightened or stressed by fireworks sounds.

For more information on safety tips, visit ‘Get Prepared’.