During fireworks season, leave 911 open for emergencies

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With July 4th fast approaching, Snohomish County’s 911 call centers — SNOCOM and SNOPAC — urge you to celebrate responsibly and keep 911 lines open for emergencies.

Last year, 911 calls received on the 4th of July between 10-11 p.m. were triple the average number of 911 calls for the previous months. The other evening hours were twice the average number of calls. The flood of non-emergency calls could potentially slow dispatcher response to an actual emergency.

Fireworks are legal in unincorporated Snohomish County, but are banned within some city’s limits including Edmonds, Everett, Gold Bar, Lynnwood, Marysville, Mill Creek, Mountlake Terrace, Mukilteo and Woodway.

If you have an emergency, where there is an immediate threat to life or property, you should contact 911. If you need to report the illegal use of fireworks, please use the appropriate non-emergency numbers.

In southwest Snohomish County, dial 425-775-3000. In the rest of Snohomish County, dial 425-407-3999.

When calling a non-emergency number, please keep the following tips in mind:
-Know your location or the location of where the incident occurred.
-Dispatchers are trained to ask questions to prioritize your incident. Keep answers brief and to the point.

“We want people to continue using 911 for urgent threats to life, limb, and property,” said Terry Peterson, Executive Director of SNOCOM. “These numbers, implemented last year, will empower you to help preserve 911 for emergencies. At the end of the day, our dispatchers will be in a better position to help you, if you find yourself in need of urgent assistance, because they won’t be fielding as many non-emergency calls on 911 lines.”

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