OLYMPIA, Wash. - To avoid tying up 911 operators this Fourth of July, police agencies are asking the public to call 911 only in the event of a real emergency.
For example, don't call to ask if fireworks are legal in your city or to report fireworks being used in a banned area or time; call a non-emergency police or fire number.
The City of Portland Bureau of Emergency Communications issued the following summary: "Please do not dial 911 to report fireworks unless there is an active fire hazard, i.e. aerial fireworks have caught a roof on fire, fireworks are being shot directly at persons, etc.
The Washington state fire marshal's office adds that people should call 911 to report if someone is making or using homemade fireworks.
The Washington State Patrol says this list should be used a guide when to call 911 regarding fireworks:
When to call 911:
- You have a fireworks-related injury
- A fire has started due to use of fireworks
- A neighbor is using illegal fireworks (M-80s, for example)
- You have found a short piece a pipe with a fuse coming out of it
- Your next-door neighbor is making fireworks in their garage
Don’t call 911 for the following:
- Trying to find out if fireworks legal in your city or county. Search the Internet for local restrictions or call your local police or fire department’s NON-EMERGENCY phone number.
- Reporting fireworks violations, whether they are being used in a banned area or being used late at night or early morning.
- Learning where to get a fireworks stand license. Call the state fire marshal at (360) 596-3913 or check the Internet.
- You have old fireworks you want to get rid of. Call your local police or fire department’s NON-EMERGENCY phone number.
- If your neighbor has a storage container filled with fireworks. Call your local police or fire department’s NON-EMERGENCY phone number.
Click for the official release from the City of Portland
Click for the official release from Washington State Patrol