PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Local fire agencies want to remind people not to forget common sense when lighting off fireworks during the 4th of July weekend.
While fireworks are fun and a great way to commemorate the holiday, fire officials fear the dangers it poses to both people and property.
The theme for Portland firefighters this year is to educate everyone using fireworks.
Lt. Rich Tyler with Portland Fire & Rescue said, “I think it’s just a reminder of the basics of staying safe. While fireworks are very entertaining and can be very fun, there’s a danger to them.”
Agencies in the Portland area tally hundreds of thousands of dollars in property damage every 4th of July, and many minor burns caused by fireworks don’t get reported.
According to Tyler, the number one place where people receive injuries from fireworks is their face. He said it’s because when people are lighting fireworks, they’re usually leaning over it, so if people don’t get away quickly enough, the fireworks can hit them in the face.
No fireworks hotline in Portland this year
Portland Fire Chief Mike Myers told KOIN 6 News they just couldn’t handle the volume of calls coming in for non-emergency situations, and there was no way 4 enforcement officers could get to well more than 1000 calls.
This year they’re ramping up education to help people understand what are and aren’t legal fireworks that explode or fly. The ban is on anything that goes up more than a foot or across the ground 6 feet, as well as those that explode or fly.
If you want to report someone in Portland using illegal fireworks, the number to call is the non-emergency line: 503.823.333. Do not call 911 unless it is an emergency.
PF&R will still have teams of enforcement officers out writing tickets. In 2016, they issued 77 fireworks citations.
Beaverton also wants callers to report using their non-emergency line. Patrols will be out in Beaverton.
Parents can be held liable for damage done by their kids using illegal fireworks.
Don’t use illegal fireworks
Light fireworks one at a time on hard surfaces
Soak them in water after use
Animal safety on the 4th of July
Keeping yourself (and hands) safe this 4th of July is important, but don’t forget about the safety of your animals.
Firework displays can cause animals anxiety, especially dogs, who go into a state of panic and sometimes run away. The 4th of July is known as the number one day pets go missing.
On July 5, animal shelters across the country are often overwhelmed with the lost dogs and cats they have to take care of, some of which are never reunited with their owners.
The Oregon Humane Society shared a few suggestions to keep pets safe this holiday.
- During firework displays, keep all pets inside. Distressed pets should be placed inside a room with closed windows and a secure door.
- Make sure your pets, even indoor cats, wear a collar with an identification tag that includes your name and number.
- Walk your dog in the afternoon, before the fireworks begin.
- If you know your dog reacts poorly to fireworks, talk to your veterinarian about using canine sedatives.