Fire District 1 calls for fireworks ban in unincorporated Snohomish County
The cities of Mountlake Terrace and Edmonds have banned the private use of fireworks for years; the Lynnwood City Council voted to ban the discharge of fireworks there beginning in 2015. Now Snohomish County Fire District 1 wants to see a ban put into place in all unincorporated areas of South Snohomish County.
The Snohomish County Fire District 1 Board of Commissioners unanimously approved a resolution calling for the county government to ban the sale and discharge of fireworks in unincorporated areas. Currently the discharge of fireworks is legal only on July 4 in unincorporated portions of the Fire District’s service area.
Fire District 1 Board Chair David Chan and Assistant Fire Chief Brad Reading will be voicing its support for a fireworks ban during public comments at the Snohomish County Council meeting Wednesday at 9 a.m., Henry M. Jackson Board Room, 8th Floor, Drewel Administration Building East.
Since 2005, fireworks have been responsible for a total of more than $3.25 million in property loss in Fire District 1, displacing 15 households from homes and apartments. “This is unacceptable. Every year we have citizens tells us they’re afraid to leave their homes on July 4 because of all the fireworks going off in their neighborhoods. A ban will restore their sense of security, reduce injuries and cut property losses,” said Chan.
Chan noted the district supports a ban that would apply only to private fireworks use, and would still allow for professional displays. “Those who think it wouldn’t be the Fourth of July without fireworks could attend a public display put on by trained professionals,” he said. “That’s the safest way to enjoy fireworks.”
Fire District 1 is encouraging other fire districts in the county to pass similar resolutions asking the Snohomish County Council to ban all fireworks except professional displays.
Banning fireworks can be an effective method for reducing fireworks injuries and property loss, said Fire Chief Ed Widdis. “Bans in Mountlake Terrace and Edmonds have been effective in reducing our call volumes, property loss and injuries.”Typically, Fire District 1’s call load in the unincorporated area more than doubles on July 4.
To help handle the heavy volume of fireworks-related 9-1-1 calls expected on the holiday, two additional engine companies will be in service on July 4. “This will supplement the around-the-clock staffing we regularly provide at 12 fire stations in south Snohomish County,” Widdis said.
The City of Mountlake Terrace released a list of suggestions to help residents and visitors celebrate safely and legally:
- Comply with the City’s fireworks ban. The sale, possession and discharge of all fireworks are prohibited within Mountlake Terrace city limits. Violations will result in confiscation of fireworks and fines.
- Report fireworks violations. It is recommended that citizens call 911 when there is an emergency situation such as a fire or injury. Call 911 if violations of the fireworks ban are observed.
- Keep pets safe. Fireworks can upset pets. Keep pets inside.
- Attend a public fireworks display. There are public displays planned for July 4 in Edmonds, Everett, Kenmore and Seattle.
Other western Washington cities that ban fireworks include Bellevue, Burien, Carnation, Des Moines, Everett, Federal Way, Gold Bar, Issaquah, Kenmore, Kirkland, Lake Forest Park, Mill Creek, Mukilteo, Redmond, Renton, Sammamish, SeaTac, Seattle, Shoreline, Tukwila, and Woodway.
Fire District 1 serves nearly 200,000 residents in unincorporated south Snohomish County, Brier, Edmonds and Mountlake Terrace.