MFD, MPD to Build Additional Enforcement into Fireworks Safety
June 25, 2008
Each year, as we near the 4th of July holiday, the City of Madison Fire Department works to educate the public on dangers related to fireworks - both legal and illegal. And each year, the number of complaints and instances of illegal use of fireworks within the City limits increases."We are absolutely living on borrowed time before we experience another tragedy related to the use of fireworks," said City Fire Marshal Ed Ruckriegel. As recently as April, a 12-year-old boy received burn injuries from illegal fireworks he set off at Velma Hamilton Middle School. "Fireworks are simply too readily available, and we as a community seem to have lost sight of the harm they can do," said Ruckriegel. "It has become clear that education alone is not the answer."To address this issue, the City of Madison Fire Department is partnering with the City Police Department to increase both education and enforcement leading up to and after the 4th of July holiday.Last year, police responded to more than 300 complaints regarding fireworks.The intention of this year's stepped-up enforcement is to change behaviors, reduce the possession and limit the use of prohibited fireworks in Madison. The ultimate goal is to improve community safety and quality of life. Teams of police and fire prevention officers will be designated to patrol neighborhoods. A citation bail amount of $172, and fines of up to $1000 plus court costs may be levied against individuals found to be using fireworks in violation of City ordinances, even for a first offense.As a first step, the Fire and Police Departments are urging residents to stop this trend with a simple message regarding fireworks: Don't buy them; don't use them.
- Lori Wirth, PIO, 608-266-5947