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Tuesday, November 28, 2023
Nov. 28, 2023

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Clark County authorities get ready for July Fourth emergency calls, many won’t respond to nuisance reports

Tips and reminders for a safe, legal Independence Day

By , Columbian staff writer
3 Photos
A sign at Blackjack Fireworks in Hazel Dell promotes safety as store manager Jeremy Mohney looks through some of the holiday items on display Thursday afternoon. Fireworks go on sale Tuesday.
A sign at Blackjack Fireworks in Hazel Dell promotes safety as store manager Jeremy Mohney looks through some of the holiday items on display Thursday afternoon. Fireworks go on sale Tuesday. (Amanda Cowan/The Columbian) Photo Gallery

Police and fire crews are gearing up for the Fourth of July, now less than two weeks away.

Authorities are expecting a busy holiday, responding to reports of fires and injuries caused by fireworks. One thing many of them won’t be doing is responding to complaints of improper fireworks use.

The Clark County Sheriff’s Office has announced it will not respond to what it terms nuisance fireworks violations, such as reports of fireworks being set off outside of allowed times or days, scaring off pets or the use of banned fireworks.

Law enforcement agencies from Battle Ground, Camas, La Center, Ridgefield, Vancouver, Washougal and Yacolt will prioritize response to calls during periods of high demand. Call response will also depend on available resources.

The Clark Regional Emergency Services Agency will staff a fireworks nuisance complaint call center during the Fourth of July weekend. To report a complaint related to Fourth of July activities, call 360-597-7888. The call center will be available from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. July 2- 4. Complaint information will be relayed to the appropriate jurisdiction.

CRESA is asking residents not to call 911 or 311 to report fireworks complaint. Callers reporting nuisances or noise complaints about fireworks can delay or block other callers with life-threatening emergencies from reaching 911, the agency said.

Anyone reporting a fire, medical emergency or life-threatening emergency should still call 911. Call 911 if someone is injured from a firework, there is a fire started by a firework, you witness someone attempting to start a fire with a firework, or you witness someone assaulting someone with a firework.

The times and days fireworks can be discharged vary greatly across the county.

If you live within Vancouver’s city limits, don’t expect to set off fireworks on July 4 or any other day. The sale and use of fireworks are banned within the city. Violators can be fined $500 or more.

Instead, residents are encouraged to attend “Summer Fest” at Fort Vancouver. The free day of live music, games, rides in military vehicles for historic tours, and a movie in the park at dusk happens on July 3. A traditional fireworks display was canceled this year by organizers, however.

For more information about dates and times allowed, go to https://clark.wa.gov/community-development/fireworks. Residents can enter their address in the search bar to see current regulations.

Many types of fireworks sold in other states remain illegal in Clark County and Washington. Possessing or discharging firecrackers, salutes, chasers, skyrockets, bottle rockets, M-80s, M-1000s and homemade devices is prohibited. Washington does allow some fireworks that are prohibited in Oregon. For more information, see clark.wa.gov/sites/default/files/dept/files/community-development/fire/illegal-fireworks.pdf.

Safety tips

While millions of Americans will safely celebrate the holiday with fireworks, the Consumer Product Safety Commission warns that fireworks can present a serious safety hazard if not used properly. The commission offers the following tips for a safe and happy holiday:

  • Always read the directions.
  • Have an adult present for proper supervision.
  • Never experiment, take fireworks apart, mix anything with fireworks contents, or try to make fireworks.
  • Always light fireworks outdoors in a clear area away from houses and away from flammable materials.
  • Light one device at a time.
  • Keep a bucket of water nearby for emergencies.
  • Maintain a safe distance after lighting devices.
  • Dispose of fireworks properly and soak malfunctioning devices in or with water.
  • Never allow small children to handle fireworks.
  • Always store fireworks in a dry, cool place and avoid rough handling that might damage the fuse or handles.
  • Never ignite fireworks in metal or glass containers.


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