Call volume shows busy weekend for first responders

First responders field over 150 firework complaint calls in Brown County this weekend
Published: Jul. 6, 2020 at 5:35 PM CDT
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - Looking back at the holiday weekend, numbers show it was a busy weekend for first responders in our area.

Over the holiday weekend (from Friday to Sunday), the Brown County Emergency Dispatch Center fielded 174 calls related to fireworks. That’s almost as much as they fielded in all of June this year. The total for all law agencies for June is 213 fireworks complaints initiated.

The Green Bay Police Department responded to 113 of those firework calls in Brown County.

“We did issue 7 written warnings,” said Commander Kevin Warych. “We did not issue any citations for all the fireworks complaints.”

Commander Warych said firework calls can be hard to investigate.

“A lot of the calls, in a cursory review from what I am told, is that by the time officers got there, the fireworks are over,” said Warych. “It’s hard to determine who shot off the fireworks in order to issue a citation if the people and fireworks are gone.”

Warych said calls are prioritized, meaning officers respond to immediate emergencies first before responding to firework complaints.

The Green Bay Metro Fire Department responded 7 firework-related fires this weekend, estimating a total damage of $179,000.

In Fond du Lac, Assistant Fire Chief Jim Knowles said this 4th of July weekend stood out in his 23 year career.

“It was unique, due to the fact that we had 3 garbage/recyclable container fires within proximity to each other, in a 2-hour time span,” said Assistant Chief Knowles.

Assistant Chief Knowles said two of those fires are due to improper disposal of fireworks.

“To what we investigated, they were legal fireworks,” said Knowles. “People did come forward and say they did dispose of fireworks in their garbage containers.”

Listed below are some important firework safety tips to follow from the Green Bay Metro Fire Department:

· Always soak used, duds, and unused fireworks in water overnight before placing them in the trash.

· Keep a garden hose or a bucket of water nearby when using fireworks in case of malfunction or fire.

· Avoid using alcohol & drugs when using fireworks.

· Never allow children under the age of 5 to light fireworks or use sparklers; children this age are unlikely to comprehend and understand sparkler safety.

· Always have close adult supervision.

· Never try to relight “dud” fireworks. Leave them alone for 30 minutes before approaching.

· Maintain a safe distance while using fireworks.

· Keep your pets on a leash.

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