As we approach July 4th celebrations, Spokane Fire Department wants to remind the community that the use of individual fireworks has been illegal in Spokane since 1993. Individual consumer fireworks are also illegal in the City of Spokane Valley, Millwood, Cheney, Liberty Lake and the unincorporated areas of Spokane County.
Several factors were involved in the community decision to have a ban:
- In the ten years prior to a ban, there was an annual average of 104 fireworks-caused fires between June 28 and July 6 just in the city limits of Spokane.
- Multiple fireworks-caused fires resulted in the need to stack 911 calls, i.e. all medics and EMTs were responding to fireworks calls and not available for life-threatening medical calls.
- Area hospitals averaged 29 fireworks-caused injuries between June 28 and July 6.
- The community could enjoy the annual public fireworks displays without having to risk the fires and injuries predictably associated individual consumer fireworks and Independence Day.
Reasons for continuing the ban include the following:
- The Spokane ban works. The average number of fireworks-caused fires has declined from 104 to 5. The average number of fireworks-caused injuries treated in local hospitals has been reduced from 29 to 5.
- 85% of fireworks-caused injuries treated in the past ten years in Spokane area hospitals actually happened outside of the fireworks ban area. Patients were transported to Spokane for care.
- The notable decrease in fireworks noise in neighborhoods helps area veterans who suffer post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and area pets traumatized by the explosions of sound.
- Residents are less fearful of leaving their homes to enjoy a vacation or lake experience rather than have to stand by their hoses in the event of a roof fire caused by a stray firework.
Fireworks-caused fires ultimately tax the resources of Spokane. View the projected number of fireworks fires that were prevented in the first twenty years of the ban.
Jan Doherty, Public Education Officer