JAMESTOWN – Officials from the Jamestown Police Department are reporting that they’ve received 65 complaints of fireworks this month in the city limits.
Police say the number for the entire month of June was at 31 complaints. Officials are reminding the community that the possession and use of fireworks is illegal in New York State. Section 270.00 of the New York State Penal Law (Unlawfully Dealing with Fireworks and Dangerous Fireworks) covers the offenses and potential charges that range from a violation up to a class A Misdemeanor.
Changes in the New York State Law have allowed the sale and possession of sparkling devices in designated counties. They (Sparkling Devices) are legal to possess and use within Chautauqua County and the City of Jamestown. Under section 270.00, sparkling devices are defined as devices that are ground-based or hand-held devices that produce a shower of white, gold, or colored sparks as their primary pyrotechnic effect.
Additional effects may include a colored frame, an audible crackling effect, an audible whistle effect, and smoke. These devices do not rise into the air, do not fire inserts or projectiles into the air, and do not explode or produce a report (an audible crackling sound is not considered a report). Ground-based or hand-held devices that produce a cloud of smoke as their sole pyrotechnic effect are also included in this category.
Police say the use of any fireworks creates both a fire and safety hazard. According to the National Fire Protection Association, fireworks start an average of 19,500 fires in 2018, including 1,900 structure fires, 500 vehicle fires, and 17,100 outside and other fires. These fires caused five deaths, 46 civilian injuries, and $105 million in direct property damage. In 2018, U.S. Hospital Emergency Rooms treated an estimated 12,900 for fireworks related injuries, half of those injuries were to the extremities and 34% were to the eye or other parts of the head. Children younger than 15 years of age accounted for more than one-third (36%) of the estimated 2018 injuries.
Police encourage the community members to leave the fireworks to the professionals and to attend displays if they are offered in the area during the upcoming holiday. Police also remind everyone to utilize common sense when using legal sparkling devices within the city, as they can also be dangerous if not properly handled.