Today we welcomed Lieutenant Damon Simmons from Portland Fire & Rescue to explain to us which fireworks are legal in Oregon and which fireworks are illegal, as well as some important tips to ensure your Fourth of July is a safe one for all.
Each year in the United States, we celebrate the Fourth of July with community parades, picnics, barbecues, and fireworks - the things of which happy memories are made. But sadly, Independence Day also includes tragic events and injuries resulting from illegal fireworks use and is both traumatizing and harmful to children, animals, and a growing number of war veterans who deserve our loyalty the most.
Completely aside from the danger (both legal and personal) of exploding illegal fireworks, there's a huge risk of fire and property damage.
Legal fireworks may be purchased only from Oregon permitted fireworks retailers and stands. Oregon law forbids possession, use or sale of fireworks that fly, explode or travel more than six feet on the ground or 12 inches in the air. Bottle rockets, Roman candles, and firecrackers are ILLEGAL in Oregon.
Under Oregon law, officials may seize illegal fireworks fining offenders up to $500 per violation including possession of illegal fireworks and endangering life and property. Offenders may also be arrested. Any fireworks causing damage or misuse of fireworks carries a liability for the offender, who may be required to pay for resulting fire or other damage. Parents are liable for fireworks-caused damage by their children. Costs may include assessed fines as well as the cost of suppressing fireworks-caused fires.
Fire Chief Janssens also informed us of Operation: Lower the Boom, a program that includes a public information campaign to explain which fireworks are legal in Oregon and, closer to July 4th, a combined force of fire and police teams responding to locations where illegal fireworks are being used.
Community members are urged to call the non-emergency number, 503-823-3333, if illegal fireworks are being used. A Lower the Boom team will be dispatched and citations, fines, and confiscation of the illegal fireworks will result.
For more information on illegal fireworks, please visit Portland Fire & Rescue's website, portlandonline.com/fire/fireworks. Or call 503-823-3333.
Here are a few important safetly tips to remember when using your fireworks:
Ensure one adult is supervising all fireworks activities at all times. Children younger than 12 years old should not handle fireworks, and teens should be supervised.
Keep a bucket of water or charged water hose nearby to douse duds. Never pick up a dud because it could still explode.
Dispose of spent fireworks in a metal bucket filled with water.
Don't let small children use sparklers, which burn at 1,200 degrees and can cause severe burns.
Use legal fireworks on hard or paved surfaces away from dry vegetation or trees.
For maximum safety of your family, attend a community fireworks display presented by professionals.