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20th Anniversary of Fireworks Ban Press Briefing

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Published on Jun 28, 2012

This July marks the 20th anniversary of a complete fireworks ban in Spokane, Spokane Valley, Cheney, Liberty Lake, and the unincorporated parts of Spokane County.

The Spokane Fire Department would like to thank our citizens for their diligent adherence to the ban, which has led to a dramatic drop in fires and injuries associated with Independence Day fireworks.

"The fireworks ban helps keep our citizens safe," says Spokane Fire Chief Bobby Williams. "I want to commend the community for their willingness to celebrate the Fourth of July without consumer fireworks."

Because of the ban on individual consumer fireworks, fireworks-related fires in the City of Spokane between June 28 and July 6 dropped from an average of 104 in the 10 years prior to the ban to an average of 5 in past 19 years.

Another way to say this: we have avoided an 99 fireworks-caused fires in the City of Spokane in each of the past 19 years. All together, that amounts to1,881 fires that did not impact people and property!

Common fireworks are NOT "Safe-and-Sane"!

Each year, more than 8,000 fireworks-related injuries occur in the U.S. that are serious enough to require emergency room care or hospitalization during the July 4th period. Most fireworks injuries involve devices that are legal under current federal law.

Children under age 15 suffer the highest rate of injuries from fireworks, and sparklers account for a significant percentage of burn injuries. Sparkler bombs have become an additional concern.

The American Academy of Pediatrics, American Academy of Family Physicians, American Academy of Ophthalmology, American Association for Hand Surgery, American Society of Plastic Surgeons, Center for Injury Research & Policy, Emergency Nurses Association, Fire Department Safety Officers Association, International Association of Arson Investigators, International Association of Fire Chiefs, International Association of Firefighters, International Fire Marshals Association, National Fire Protection Association and Prevent Blindness America all support consumer fireworks bans in throughout the U.S.

Individual fireworks are NOT cheap entertainment! Millions of dollars in direct property damage occur each year in less than two weeks as Americans celebrate Independence Day.

In recent years, the Colville Tribe lost $15 million in timber from a bottle rocket launched from a boat on Lake Roosevelt, and taxpayers lost over $8 million in damage to schools in Washington State.

The "big 3" of firecrackers, bottle rockets and missiles have been illegal throughout the State of Washington for more than 60 years. Fines for using fireworks in Spokane start at $513.

Violations of the Spokane ban on consumer fireworks can be reported to Crime Check at 456-2233

Spokane Fire Department encourages the community to celebrate the Fourth of July by enjoying the annual public fireworks display in Riverfront Park.

For additional information on the negative impact of individual fireworks across the U.S., please contact the National Fire Protection Association or the City's public education desk. Violations of the Spokane-area ban can be reported to Crime Check at 456-2233.

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