Increase in fireworks complaints in US cities USA


Illegal fireworks light up the sky over the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of New York's Brooklyn district on June 19Image copyright
Reuters

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Illegal fireworks light up the sky in Brooklyn, New York

According to local authorities, complaints about the noise from illegal fireworks have skyrocketed in several cities in the United States in recent weeks.

The use of fireworks generally increases during the preparation of the Independence Day celebrations on July 4.

But residents of New York, Oakland, and other US cities. USA They have shared their concerns on social media about an increase in night fireworks.

It is not immediately clear what is causing the sudden boom in activity.

Regulations for consumer use of fireworks vary between and within states. Illinois, Ohio and Vermont allow flares, but not fireworks, while Massachusetts directly bans all consumer fireworks, according to the US Consumer Products Safety Commission. USA

In New York State, “glowing devices” are allowed on the ground or handheld, while aerial fireworks and firecrackers are prohibited. In New York City, the rules are even more limited: all types of fireworks, including flares, are prohibited.

By law, American consumers cannot buy professional-grade fireworks.

Earlier this month, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh held a press conference on the fireworks boom, where he observed a 2,300% increase in fireworks complaints to city police.

In nearby Braintree, police released a video of fireworks that a local resident blew up and called the recent outbreak “a public safety problem.”

Others were shared by local media in the San Francisco Bay Area.

In New York City, where residents have been dealing with recovery from the nation’s worst coronavirus outbreak, police reported 24,850 illegal fireworks calls this year to both the city’s 311 hotline and the emergency line. 911.

‘All another level’

It marks an increase of more than 2,000% compared to the same period in 2019.

The “dramatic increase” was concentrated in June, with 4,559 calls to 311 coming from the Brooklyn district alone, police said.

“Every year there are fireworks before and around July 4, but this year it’s on another level,” local resident Kate Kroeger told the BBC.

“They seem to start before 7pm … and then it speeds up all night. The first ones I heard last night were a bit far but at midnight they were right outside our window,” he added.

“It seems like no one is really stopping him,” said Tash, who lives in the Brooklyn area. “It looks like it’s getting stronger and it’s not going to go away any time soon. It’s been a weird time in the past few months and this makes things feel even more tense.”

In response to the increase, New York City says it will announce a multi-agency task force to combat the “illegal use, transportation and distribution of fireworks.”

Image copyright
Reuters

Screenshot

New York City has seen a more than 2,000% increase in complaints about illegal fireworks compared to 2019.

According to the American Pyrotechnics Association (APA), about 75% of professional display companies’ annual revenue comes from displays on July 4.

But with many events canceled due to the pandemic, some retailers are making up for the losses by selling consumer fireworks online and offering early discounts, according to online magazine Slate.

“This year is an anomaly,” APA Director Julie Heckman told the BBC. “Consumer fireworks sales have started very early and very fast.”

And this is the first year that Ms. Heckman has seen complaints of fireworks “that go on every night.”

“I think it is largely due to the pandemic.”

After months of closure and persistent virus shutdowns, “people say ‘we just want to do something,'” he said. “Why did they decide to go buy fireworks and put them out every night. I can’t answer that question.”

The APA estimates that while only a “few” of the 16,000 typical community fireworks displays on Independence Day will occur this year due to the pandemic, record levels will be recorded on family fireworks celebrations this July 4.

This expected jump in the use of family fireworks comes with safety concerns, Ms. Heckman says, as first-time users may not adequately follow common sense safety precautions.

“We are trying to spread that message,” said Heckman.

But as long as fireworks are used safely and in accordance with local law, the chances of injury remain low.

As pyrotechnics has become more popular, it has also become safer. Firework injuries between 2000 and 2018 decreased by almost 56%, according to the APA, even when use increased significantly.

Last year, the Consumer Product Safety Commission estimated that approximately 10,000 injuries were attributed to fireworks, less than 20,000 grill injuries, or 15,000 caused by air conditioners.