Monday, July 6, 2009 - 7:55am
Four teams of fire department personnel and police officers patrolled the city Friday night looking for illegal fireworks violations. Many of the people the teams contacted readily surrendered their illegal fireworks, but not all were so lucky. The teams issued four citations and confiscated enough fireworks to fill the trunk of a squad car.
The enforcement teams reported numerous examples of illegal fireworks being used in an unsafe manner. In more than one case, teenagers were observed shooting fireworks at each other.
The stepped up enforcement has two goals. The first and most important is the prevention of injuries and property damage from prohibited fireworks. The second goal is improving the quality of life by reducing the noise that keeps many people and their pets awake for much of the night.
No property damage or injuries were reported to the fire department as the result of fireworks.
Under City of Madison ordinances only sparklers, snakes, snaps, caps, and party poppers are legal within the City limits. Many communities bordering Madison have differing ordinances governing the use of fireworks, but Roman candles, fountains, bottle rockets, and firecrackers that are sold at nearby roadside stands are not permitted within the City.
Facts About Fireworks:
o On Independence Day in a typical year, more U.S. fires are reported than on any other day; fireworks account for half of those fires.
o In 2006, fireworks caused an estimated 1,700 total structure fires and 600 vehicle fires
o These fires resulted in an estimated 6 civilian deaths, 60 civilian injuries and $34 million in direct property damage.
o In 2007, U.S. hospital emergency rooms treated an estimated 9,800 people for fireworks-related injuries.
o 42% of the people injured by fireworks were under the age of 15.
o The risk of fireworks injury was two-and-a-half times as high for children ages 5-9 or 10-14 as for the general population.
o Sparklers, fountains, and novelties alone accounted for 36% of the emergency room fireworks injuries in 2007.
o Fireworks are dangerous and should be handled only by trained, professional pyrotechnicians. Fireworks and sparklers are designed to explode or throw off showers of hot sparks. Temperatures may exceed 1200 degrees F.
- Eric Dahl, 608-279-7148