Fireworksusers urged to use common sense and restraint this July4th

Published on Thu, Jun 23, 2005 by Leslee Smith

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Fireworks users urged to use common sense and restraint this July 4th

By Leslee Smith

Independence Day is a time to celebrate our freedom. With this freedom comes a shared responsibility to ensure the safe use of fireworks. Every year, houses and family possessions are destroyed, but more importantly, citizens are seriously injured and even killed by exploding fireworks.

In 2004, there were 1,100 fireworks related injuries and/or fires reported to the state fire marshal by fire departments and hospital emergency rooms. Fireworks related fires caused an estimated loss of $951,133.

According to North Whatcom Fire & Rescue Services chief Tom Fields, two Whatcom County fires last week were traced to illegal fireworks of the kind available on area Indian Reservations, one in Whatcom County Fire District 8, the area around Marietta, and another at 1530 Burk Road, in District 3, where a century-old barn worth $75,000 was declared a total loss.

North Whatcom Fire and Rescue encourages you and your family to attend a public fireworks display to enjoy the fireworks. The city of Blaine and Blaine Chamber of Commerce sponsor a fireworks display beginning at 10:15 p.m. over Blaine Harbor as part of the Old Fashioned Fourth of July celebration.

We remind you that no personal fireworks are permitted in Blaine Marine Park. Remember state law requires that fireworks purchased on tribal land can be used only on tribal land. This means that fireworks purchased on land owned by Lummi Nation and Nooksack Nation can be used only in their jurisdiction.

However, if you choose to celebrate with your own legally purchased fireworks please do it safely and follow these safety tips:
To celebrate safely remember to: be prepared, be safe and be responsible.

Be prepared – use only legal fireworks purchased at licensed stands. Store them out of children’s reach.
Be safe – only adults should light fireworks. Light one firework at a time and move away quickly. Use eye protection, never relight a ‘dud’ and always keep water handy. Use only outdoors, away from anything that can burn – dry grasses and vegetation, houses, other buildings and cars. Be sure that spectators are at a safe distance. Place pets indoors as they may become frightened.
Be responsible – soak used fireworks in water and clean up all firework debris.

Persons must remember that there may be legal consequences for injuries or fires caused by the irresponsible use of fireworks.
Consequences range from being charged with malicious mischief to assault or a gross misdemeanor for possession of illegal explosive devices such as fireworks that have been tampered with or altered.

In addition, a gross misdemeanor can bring a fine of up to $5,000 and/or one year in prison.

Devices which are illegal to possess in Washington state during non-discharge dates include: firecrackers or chasers, bottle rockets, missiles and rockets, altered fireworks, homemade devices, M-80s, M-100s & larger, cherry bombs, tennis balls, bombs and pipe bombs.
Talk with your family, guests and neighbors about the fireworks law for our area.

In Blaine and Whatcom County, the legal (RCW 70.77.395) discharge dates are: June 28, noon to 11 p.m., June 29 – July 3, 9 a.m. – 11 p.m., July 4, 9 a.m. – midnight, July 5, 9 a.m. – 11 p.m.

Let us work together to keep our community safe during this Independence Day celebration.