Fourth of July, Events & Safety
July 2, 2013
Albuquerque – Today Governor Susana Martinez, Mayor Richard J. Berry, and Albuquerque Fire Chief James Breen united their voices in an effort to encourage a fun, safe, and fire-free Fourth of July holiday. Fire Department leaders are encouraging Metro Area Residents to attend public firework displays instead of purchasing fireworks, if residents do choose to buy fireworks, officials recommended buying from a local vendor, to ensure the purchase of legal fireworks. Freedom 4th, hosted by the city of Albuquerque, and Isotopes Park’s displays are two examples of high quality, enjoyable, easily accessible, and safe events.
People that purchase illegal fireworks and import them to use in the city are placing their community at risk for a disaster. Last year during the 4th of July, Albuquerque firefighters responded to over 720 illegal firework calls. Any one of those calls could’ve resulted in a disastrous fire.
“I hope folks realize that illegal fireworks just aren’t worth the risk,” said Mayor Berry. “Our entire city is a tinderbox waiting for one spark; creating an extremely dangerous situation for all of us. We want everyone to have a safe and fun Fourth of July so we hope to see everyone taking advantage of the professional firework shows.”
“No fireworks of any kind are allowed to be discharged in or around the Bosque, Open Space areas or city parks.” Albuquerque Fire Chief James Breen said. “We are asking the public once again to assist us in keeping Albuquerque safe from structure and wildland fires by using fireworks in a safe and appropriate manner.”
The following fireworks are illegal:
- Ground audible devices: Chasers and Fire crackers.
- Aerial devices: including Aerial shell kits and Reloadable tubes, Aerial spinners, Helicopters, Mines, Missile-type rockets, Multiple tube devices, Roman candles, Shells, and Stick-type rockets.
Once ignited, aerial and ground audible devices take an unpredictable flight path and pose a significant fire hazard to structures and vegetation. They also possess a significant injury potential to the user and innocent bystanders. These devices are also disturbing to public peace.
The following fireworks are legal and may be used:
- Cone Fountains, Crackling Devices, Cylindrical fountains, and Flitter sparklers.
- Ground Spinners, Illuminating torches, Toy smoke devices, and Wheels.
· Anyone who is caught with illegal fireworks will be cited, have their fireworks confiscated, must go to court and could face up to a $500 fine and/or 90 days in jail.
· The improper use of permissible fireworks and/or the illegal use of aerial or ground audible devices can result in the user or supervising adult being found grossly negligent and financially responsible for damages to property and firefighting efforts.
By law all fireworks are required to have warning labels. A general rule of thumb as to whether fireworks are legal is to examine the labels on each device.
- Prohibited (illegal) are required have a label that denotes "WARNING" or “FLAMMABLE”.
- Permissible (legal) Fireworks are required to have a label that denotes "CAUTION". Only buy fireworks that say “CAUTION” on the label.
· To report illegal fireworks on July 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th from 7:00pm-1:00am call (505) 833-7335.
· To report illegal fireworks any other time of year, call (505) 833-7390.
Units from the Albuquerque Fire Department will be patrolling the streets of Albuquerque on July 4th and 5th searching for and will be dispatched to reports of illegal fireworks. Those who are caught WILL be cited and will have a mandatory court appearance.
· Freedom 4th is city sponsored event that is held every year at Balloon Fiesta Park on July Fourth. The event is free, but on-sight parking costs $10. Two Park & Ride locations have been set-up, tickets cost $1, with locations at St. Pius High School and Coronado Center. Go to www.cabq.gov/culturalservices for more information.
· Isotopes will have a firework show every night (weather permitting) after the baseball games on July 4th, 5th, and 6th.
If you must buy fireworks, please follow these firework safety tips.
- Fireworks should not be used on "Red Flag Warning" days, as these days indicate extreme risk for fires. To keep current, go to www.weather.gov
- What and where to buy -Always buy fireworks from a local vendor to ensure what you purchase is safe and legal for use within city limits.
- · Have a water source available close by.
- Supervision - Always have an adult present and never allow children to use fireworks to avoid injuries and improper use.
- Use caution - Always use fireworks outdoors on a paved area clear from homes, trees, vegetation, and other combustible materials.
- Follow directions - Always read and follow directions carefully. Only light one firework at a time.
- Disposal - Dispose of used fireworks in a bucket of water.
- Emergencies - If there is a fire, leave the area immediately and call 911.
Do not attempt to make your own fireworks. Homemade fireworks (for example, ones made of the powder from several firecrackers) can lead to dangerous and unpredictable explosions.
Risks Using Fireworks
If you do not handle fireworks properly, the following injuries and damages may occur:
- In the U.S. in 2008, body parts most often injured are hands, eyes, and the head, face, and ear. (2,300 injuries), eyes (1,500 injuries), and the head, face, and ear (1,400 injuries).
- Fireworks can be associated with blindness, third degree burns, and permanent scarring.
- Fireworks can also cause life-threatening residential, motor vehicle, and wildland fires.
Protect Your Pets
Loud explosions and firework displays often frighten pets. Frequently, pets are disturbed enough during fireworks that they escape their yard. Every Fourth of July, the City's Animal Care Center sees an increase in lost animals at the shelter.
Here are a few tips to help make sure your pet enjoys the holiday celebration as much as you do:
- Leave pets at home in a safe environment. Do not take pets to public firework displays.
- Shelter them from firework displays and noises by putting them in a crate or bringing them indoors.
- Make sure your pet has a microchip and an identification tag so we can send it home to you.
We encourage the public to attend the Freedom 4th event or other public firework shows. If you must use fireworks, please buy legal and local. On behalf of the City of Albuquerque, have a fun and safe Independence Day.