Fire District 1 resolution asks County to ban fireworks

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Commissioners at Snohomish County’s largest fire district last night approved a resolution seeking a countywide ban on fireworks.

The Fire District 1 Board of Commissioners voted 4-0 to approve the resolution asking the Snohomish County Council to ban the sale and discharge of fireworks in unincorporated areas. Fire District 1 officials plan to deliver the resolution when the County Council meets on June 24.

“We encourage citizens to join us at this meeting to voice support for a ban,” said Commissioner Jim Kenny, Fire District 1 Board Chair.

The Snohomish County Council meeting on June 24 begins at 9 a.m. in the Henry M. Jackson Board Room, Eighth Floor, Robert J. Drewel Building (Administration Building East), 3000 Rockefeller, Everett.

Fire District 1 serves nearly 200,000 residents in unincorporated south Snohomish County, Brier, Edmonds and Mountlake Terrace. Two of these municipalities — Edmonds and Mountlake Terrace — already ban fireworks. Lynnwood also enacted a ban this year. 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 $3.28 million in property loss in Fire District 1, displacing 15 households from homes and apartments.

“Every year we hear from citizens who say they’re afraid to leave their homes on July 4 because of all the fireworks going off in their neighborhoods,” Kenny said. “We are asking for a ban to restore their sense of security, reduce injuries and cut property losses.”

He noted the resolution seeks 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,” Kenny said. “That’s the safest way to enjoy fireworks.”

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, Fire District 1 will have additional firefighters on duty July 4. “This will supplement the around-the-clock staffing we regularly provide at 12 fire stations in south Snohomish County,” Widdis said.

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