Opinion

Be a good citizen — obey fireworks laws | Val Torrens

Torrens Talk

The season of terror is now underway. It is fireworks time.

Because of liberal laws regarding private use and the abundance of stands, both tribal and non-tribal fireworks can be heard exploding virtually everywhere in the county. If people would use them appropriately and safely, they would be tolerable. But, there are too many who do not. These folks are the problem that causes headaches and heartaches for the rest of us.

If people would just obey the laws regarding use of fireworks, it would go a long way to making life more tolerable for those for whom this time of year is a nightmare. The legal time for setting off fireworks in the county is the Fourth, from 11 a.m. - 11 p.m. For the city of Poulsbo, it is from June 28-July 5, 9 a.m. - 11 p.m. It is nothing short of poor manners and lack of consideration for others to set off fireworks outside those time-frames.

Both jurisdictions also restrict the types of fireworks that can be set off. The “safe and sane” fireworks are ones that pack far less power and powder in them. Generally, that means the smoke bombs, sparklers and ground flowers types of fireworks — ones that are not projectiles, explosives or become airborne.

Of course, that alone makes them unappealing to a segment that seems focused on recreating the War of 1812. These folks go after the bottle rockets, M-80s and others of that kind. While they purchase them where it is legal to sell and use them, they then take them and use them where it is not legal: they set them off wherever they are. They do not seem to care that others in the vicinity may have no desire to have that level of noise and potential destruction anywhere near them.

These people seem intent upon creating a display that could rival many professional ones. They do not seem concerned that there are houses around them or animals in pastures nearby. There is seemingly no thought given to the fact that once they light off the fireworks, they cannot control where it goes. It is this lack of concern for the safety and well-being of others that has put the laws on the books restricting their use.

It is a time of year that, despite all warnings on using safe and sane fireworks, of what not to buy, of where and how to use them, there are always those who think they can do whatever they want wherever they want.

These are the ones that cause personal and/or property damage. There has yet to be a year where someone has not been injured or some brush fire has not been set thanks to illegal use of fireworks.

It is commendable that North Kitsap Fire & Rescue is trying to change people’s behavior by providing an incentive to people to not light off fireworks. They run a No Fireworks Pledge program. For every pledge they receive to not light off any fireworks, they donate $5 to the local show, the Kingston’ Fourth of July fireworks show.

That is absolutely a great idea. For whatever reason, it is not in place in either Poulsbo or Central Kitsap. Maybe that is something those fire departments can look to doing next year to help make the Fourth a safer holiday for everyone.

Like in many things in life, it is those that do not obey the rules that make it difficult for the rest of us. Do your neighbors, pets, veterans suffering from PTSD and others for whom loud noises are troublesome a favor and follow the rules. Use fireworks safely, sanely and legally where they are allowed.

Do not become a scofflaw just because you can. The allowable time-frames are more than enough to blow up things and ooh and aah. Be a good citizen — after all, it is a civic celebration. The Fourth of July and the summer season should be enjoyable for everyone.

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