Give Neighbors a Safe Way to Report Illegal Firework Use with Your 311 and CRM

Written by CivicPlus

Not every concern about firework use should be reported by calling 911. Use your citizen request management tool to give residents an appropriate communication tool.

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July Fourth is approaching, which means backyard barbecues, star-spangled decorations, flags on every front porch, and fireworks lighting up the night sky. 14,000 Communities, from Maine to California, will be celebrating Independence Day by watching these gorgeous displays of light and sound; organized by their local parks. Unfortunately, too many people will purchase and set off fireworks in their homes and communities in ways that put themselves and their neighbors at risk. According to the 2021 Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) fireworks safety report, an estimated 15,600 people were treated in hospital emergency rooms for fireworks-related injuries in 2020, with 66% of them occurring around the fourth of July, resulting in 18 deaths.

Safely and Anonymously Reporting Dangerous Fireworks Use with 311 and CRM

Concerned parents and neighbors want to celebrate Independence Day safely, and have a right to be concerned if they feel their neighbors aren’t following the local code of ordinances related to fireworks use. However, not every concern about firework use should be reported by calling 911. Residents should only call 911 when in-progress fireworks use poses an immediate threat or danger to themselves or others. It is essential to reserve 911 for serious threats to life and property and consider whether the in-progress fireworks use poses an immediate threat or danger to the neighborhood. As an alternative, communities with a citizen relationship management (CRM) solution, like SeeClickFix from CivicPlus®, can give communities a trackable and appropriate tool to share concerns about firework use with local officials.

CRM tools like SeeClickFix allow neighbors to anonymously report illegal fireworks use, helping minimize tension between neighbors who need to cohabitate peacefully, for years to come.

Communities such as the City of Maple Valley,  Washington, and Albuquerque, New Mexico, are all using SeeClickFix to allow residents to report observed firework safety concerns, anonymously. The submissions are received by local officials who can intervene before dangerous use becomes deadly.

Firework Safety Tips

For public works leaders, public safety teams, and communications officers who want to take every measure possible to minimize firework-related emergency room visits this summer, share these safety tips across all your communication channels with residents:

  • Never allow young children to handle fireworks; even sparklers can be dangerous and lead to hundreds of emergency room visits annually
  • Older children should only handle fireworks under close adult supervision
  • Never use fireworks while impaired by drugs or alcohol
  • Never point or throw fireworks at another person
  • Only light one device at a time and maintain a safe distance after lighting
  • Do not try to re-light or handle malfunctioning fireworks
  • Never hold lighted fireworks in your hands
  • Never light fireworks indoors
  • Wear protective eyewear if you are handling fireworks or nearby
  • Do not use fireworks near flammable materials or close to homes
  • Soak both spent and unused fireworks in water for a few hours before discarding
  • Keep a bucket of water nearby to fully extinguish fireworks that don’t go off or in case of fire
  • Never use illegal fireworks
  • The safest way to enjoy fireworks is to leave them to experts; enjoy your community’s local fireworks display instead of lighting your own this year

Read this blog for 11 more ideas for creative ways to use your 311 and citizen relationship management system to create positive civic experiences.