Las Vegas, Nevada - May is traditionally when locals begin buying illegal fireworks for the July Fourth holiday. Today, local officials announced they are cracking down on such illegal activity, warning that offenders are subject to $1,000 citations and may be liable for fireworks disposal fees running into the hundreds of dollars as well.
Local police, fire and elected officials announced that they will be cracking down across the valley on the possession and firing of illegal fireworks to an extent that hasn't been seen in more than two decades.
"These three-person teams will cite as many people as possible," said Clark County Commissioner Lawrence Weekly. "Officers won't be able to cite everyone but the large deployment will certainly make a dent in what is occurring, and hopefully we'll see more compliance with the law and safer celebrations across the Las Vegas Valley." All illegal fireworks will be impounded.
"The period from May through July is when locals often purchase illegal fireworks and we really wanted to get the word out about this effort before residents made expensive purchases," said Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani. "There are too many injuries and fires attributable to illegal fireworks & it's time we put a stop to it."
Residents are urged NOT to call 9-1-1 or 3-1-1 to report illegal fireworks. Instead, they will be urged to visit a fireworks-reporting website and report the illegal fireworks there. More information about this website will be available closer to the Fourth of July.
"It will be easy enough for our police and fire officials to see for themselves where the illegal fireworks are coming from and they will respond accordingly," said Commissioner Marilyn Kirkpatrick. "But we need the community to visit the fireworks-reporting website and document on July 4th where the illegal fireworks are being ignited to help us plan our future enforcement activities. This is a community problem that can only be addressed by all of us working together as a community."
"One reason for the crackdown is public safety, which concerns us all," said North Las Vegas Councilman Scott Black. Fireworks were responsible for an estimated 11,100 injuries treated in U.S. hospitals in 2016, the most recent year statistics were available. Children younger than 15 years of age make up almost one-third (31 percent) of the injuries. The noise scares pets and can be disturbing to veterans and those suffering from post-traumatic stress syndrome. Additionally, fireworks pollute our air.
Fireworks are also responsible for numerous fires. The National Fire Protection Association estimates that local fire departments respond to more than 50,000 fires caused by fireworks each year.
To help get the word out, a public education campaign has been devised around the slogan, "You Light It, We Write it." Information about the campaign is available at www.Youlightitwewriteit.Vegas. Television spots in English and Spanish have been produced and are being provided to the local media. They will air on Cox television stations and local government access stations. Residents are encouraged to support the campaign by sharing participating agencies' content on social media and using the hashtag #youlightitwewriteit. Look for electronic message boards, bus wraps and notices going home in elementary school children's backpacks.
"It has really gotten out of hand these last few years," said Commissioner Marilyn Kirkpatrick. "We need to get the word out that these fireworks are illegal for a reason and that it's time to stop. Citations are probably the most effective deterrent we have so those who are thinking of igniting illegal fireworks this year have been put on notice. If this doesn't work, the next step may be a wholesale ban on all fireworks except those at approved community events."
- Only "safe and sane" fireworks are allowed to be used, except in cases of commercial shows. But not all "safe and sane" fireworks are legal in Clark County and its cities. The best way to ensure that your fireworks are not illegal is to buy from locally licensed and inspected fireworks booths. Additionally, one can look for the California State Fire Marshal seal that is permanently affixed on the packaging. (Stickers are not allowed.). Fireworks may only be used June 28-July 4 and are not allowed after midnight on July 4.
- Be a good neighbor when using fireworks, and be considerate of those who are sensitive to loud noises especially the elderly, veterans, children and pets.
- Be prepared in case of fire. Have a pre-connected garden hose handy. Maintain several five gallon buckets filled with water where you can place discharged fireworks.
- Use fireworks on flat, hard surfaces such as parking lots, cul-de-sacs, etc. away from buildings, vehicles, dry brush and bystanders. Always use fireworks outdoors.
- Coordinate lighting the items so that everyone in the group anticipates when they will be set off and are not surprised.
- Keep close supervision on children and pets; maintaining a distance away from the fireworks that are being ignited minimizes the possibility of injury. Do not let children ignite fireworks.
- Beware of sparklers. These can be popular items to give young children, but they can hot enough to cause clothes to catch fire or cause bad skin burns when used.
- Place discharged fireworks into a bucket of water overnight to make certain they do not re-ignite.
- Never try to make your own fireworks.
Clean up litter left behind by fireworks. Don't allow kids to pick up pieces of fireworks after an event. Some may still be ignited and can explode at any time. Soak all fireworks in a bucket of water before throwing them in the trash