Celebrate a safe and sane Fourth of July

Tomorrow is the Fourth of July and that means celebrating the independence of the United States of America in the traditional way: by blowing stuff up.

Just be careful. Worried about running afoul of the law? Burning the house down? Ending up in the emergency room missing a limb? Causing your dog’s ears to explode?

Then keep the information that follows in mind for a safe and sane Independence Day celebration.


In the City of Tacoma, only display fireworks discharged by professionals at sanctioned community events are legal. It is against the law to purchase, possess or discharge fireworks within the city limits of Tacoma.

Tacoma Police and Fire departments will jointly enforce Tacoma’s fireworks ban during the Fourth of July holiday season.

The city banned personal-use fireworks in 1993.

Fire and police personnel have been conducting joint patrols from noon until midnight since June 29 and will respond to complaints of illegal fireworks throughout the city. The joint patrols will continue through July 4.

The police department will have additional units available on the Fourth of July.

Those who witness fireworks violations or want other information about fireworks may call the city’s “Fireworks Hotline” at 573-2525 from noon until midnight through July 4. Fire Department dispatchers will answer the hotline.

Complaints during other hours will be directed to 9-1-1.

Violations of the city fireworks ban can carry fines up to $500 and 90 days in jail. The state ordinance for discharging explosives such as firecrackers, bottle rockets, missile type rockets and any other explosive fireworks provides for fines up to $1,000 and 180 days in jail.


If you do live in an area that allows personal-use fireworks, be sure and exercise common sense in order to keep people and property safe.

Keep vigilant for fires, especially if it’s dry outside and make sure all fireworks are totally extinguished.

It’s a good idea to keep a functioning water hose nearby in case something does catch on fire.

In order to lessen the chances of a fire even starting, consider spraying down the area.

With the possible exception of sparklers, it’s not wise to hold fireworks in your hand, as you increase your risk of getting burned or worse.

Light fireworks and move away as quickly as possible.


Also, don’t forget about your four-legged friends, advises the Human Society for Tacoma & Pierce County, as pets can be terrified by the noise and activities of the day.

Since Fido probably won’t appreciate the spectacle, avoid bringing your pet to the fireworks displays.

Keep your pets inside your home in a quiet place, with all windows and doors shut.

Provide your pet with their favorite toy, chew bones or other distraction and remove any items that may be harmful to your pet if they become frightened and destructive. Leave the television or radio on to keep your pet company while you are away.

Do not leave your pet outside and unattended, even if they’re in a fenced in yard or on a chain. Your pet may panic, escape and run off, or if on a chain, may get the chain tangled up and hang themselves.

Don’t take your pet with you and leave them in the car. Cars can heat up to a deadly temperature, even with the windows cracked, in a very short time, resulting in heat exhaustion and even death.

Make sure your pet is wearing a current identification tag, so if they do escape they will have an improved chance of returning home.


People can enjoy a professional fireworks show around 10 p.m. at the Freedom Fair on Ruston Way, featuring dozens of activities all day long.

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Police officers will patrol the event and will issue citations for drinking in public, fireworks possession and other violations.