Commissioners of the largest fire district in Snohomish County are voicing their support for a countywide ban on fireworks.
Snohomish County Fire District 1 Commissioners unanimously approved a resolution this week calling for the county to ban the sale and discharge of fireworks in unincorporated areas. Fire District 1 serves nearly 200,000 residents in unincorporated south Snohomish County, Brier, Edmonds, Mountlake Terrace and Woodway.
Three of the municipalities served by Fire District 1 — Edmonds, Mountlake Terrace and Woodway – have already banned fireworks. The discharge of fireworks is legal on July 4 in the remainder of Fire District 1’s service area.
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 a trend that is unacceptable. As it stands now, we have citizens who tell us they won’t leave their homes on July 4 out of fear that an errant firework will destroy their property. A ban will restore their sense of security, reduce injuries and cut property losses,” said David Chan, board chair.
He 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,” Chan said.
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, Edmonds and Woodway have been effective in reducing our call volumes, property loss and injuries,” he said.
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.
Fire District 1 is also teaming up with the Snohomish County Sheriff’s office, the Snohomish County Fire Marshal’s office and the Mukilteo School District in a campaign targeting safety and law enforcement issues associated with heavy fireworks use in the neighborhood surrounding Mariner High School.