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TVF&R Reminds You to "Keep it Legal, Keep it Safe" This Holiday

News Release from: Tualatin Valley Fire and Rescue
Posted: June 27th, 2012 5:33 PM
Photo/sound file: (Fireworks confiscated by Sherwood Police Department in 2010. TVF&R is teaming up with Sherwood Police Department and other local law enforcement agencies to help curb illegal fireworks.)

Firework stands opened last week and TVF&R wants to remind the public to "Keep it Legal, Keep it Safe" this Fourth of July. On average, TVF&R responds to approximately 50 firework fires each year, almost all of which occur during the time period that firework stands are open in Oregon (June 23-July 6). "Our fires involve both illegal and legal fireworks," states Karen Eubanks, Public Information Officer. She adds, "Just because it's legal, doesn't mean it's 100% safe." Many of TVF&R's firework-related fires are caused by careless use or improper disposal of legal fireworks.

Keep It Legal:
Oregon law bans fireworks that explode, fly up in the air more than 12 inches, or move across the ground more than six feet. This includes popular items like bottle rockets, roman candles, firecrackers, and M80s. Fireworks purchased by mail order, or in the state of Washington or on Native American reservations, may be illegal in Oregon. To keep it legal, purchase all fireworks at a licensed Oregon firework stand or retail outlet.

Under Oregon law, law enforcement officers can seize illegal fireworks and you can be fined up to $500 per violation. You can also be held civilly liable for damages resulting from improper use of any fireworks - legal or illegal.

In an effort to help keep neighborhoods safe on the Fourth of July, TVF&R firefighters will conduct neighborhood drive-bys, reminding individuals to use fireworks safely and the penalties associated with illegal fireworks. In addition, TVF&R Deputy Fire Marshals will be present at public displays and will be riding with local law officers to assist with enforcement efforts.

Individuals needing to report a fire or medical emergency should call 9-1-1; individuals wishing to report a nuisance or concern about illegal fireworks should do so via their non-emergency 9-1-1 number. These situations will be logged and passed on to local law enforcement, and responded to as resources allow.

Keep It Safe:
Even legal fireworks cause fires and injuries. Follow the tips below to help ensure your safety.
- Only adults should light or handle fireworks. Supervise children at all times.
- Store fireworks, matches, and lighters out of the reach of children.
- Use fireworks outdoors on a paved surface, away from buildings, vehicles, and vegetation.
- Never pick up or try to re-light a "dud."
- Never alter fireworks or make your own.
- Have a hose nearby in case of fire and place "spent" fireworks in a bucket of water. One of the most common fires that TVF&R responds to involves "spent" fireworks placed in a bucket or grocery sack that rekindle and spread to fences, decks, and even homes.

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