Keep 911 lines open for Fourth of July emergencies

July 4, 2010

NEW — 8 a.m. July 4, 2010

King County emergency management officials urged residents to keep 911 lines open and to instead call nonemergency numbers for reporting illegal fireworks use on Independence Day.

Find a list of nonemergency fireworks phone numbers here. The site also offers a link to the Office State Fire Marshal’s list of areas with fireworks restrictions or bans, including Issaquah. The site includes a comprehensive list of public fireworks displays, too.

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State fire marshal fireworks safety presentation / July 1, 2010

July 1, 2010

Know safety, laws about fireworks

June 29, 2010

A dummy hand is missing fingers after incorrectly lighting a Silver Salute, which is equal to the effects of 100 firecrackers. By Elizabeth DeVos

The Fourth of July is about enjoying the sun, if it decides to come out from behind the clouds, picnics and the exciting sounds and vast array of colors from lighting off fireworks.

In cities where fireworks are legal, stands opened this June 21. Although fireworks are illegal within the city limits of Issaquah, many people still ignite the dangerous explosives and quickly run away in order to watch the fiery display they put off.

“We want to remind residents of Washington to be safe,” said Karen Jones, deputy state fire marshal of the state fire marshal and data analysis. “Check the laws of your community as they change.”

According to the annual fireworks report put out by the Washington State Patrol, males ages 15-21 account for most fireworks-related injuries. In 2009, 200 firework related injuries were reported.

Hand and eye injuries are reported most, followed by head, face and ear injuries, according to the National Fire Protection Association and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention websites.

“Plan ahead for mishaps,” said Special Agent Phillip Whitley, of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

It’s also important to understand which fireworks are legal in your area, he said.

Fireworks should be left unaltered and only used as directed by the warning label that’s required by federal law. An improvised, altered firework can lead to burns, amputation of limbs and even death. Read more

State fire fatalities up 31 percent in 2009

February 16, 2010

In 2009, fire agencies reported 59 fire fatalities to the Office of the State Fire Marshal, representing an increase of 31 percent compared to the previous year.

The fire death rate is estimated at 8.8 per million population in Washington state. According to the latest available national statistics (2006 figures), the United States rate is 13.2 fire deaths per million population — Washington ranked 20th lowest in the nation.

December 2009 was the deadliest month since fire fatality reporting became a requirement in 1999, with 19 fire deaths being reported.

The leading known preventable fire causes in 2009 were smoking, representing approximately 17 percent, and electrical appliances or distribution, accounting for nearly 14 percent.

State Fire Marshal Mike Matlick encourages Washington state residents to protect themselves and their loved ones from the devastation of fire by taking steps to eliminate hazards.

If you smoke Read more

December was deadly month for fire fatalities

January 1, 2010

NEW — 6:10 a.m. Jan. 1, 2010

Fifteen fire fatalities were reported in December to the Office of the State Fire Marshal by fire agencies across the state.

“The number of fire deaths reported this month is alarming,” said State Fire Marshal Mike Matlick. “Fire prevention is essential and everyone should be thinking about what they can do to prevent these fires.”

To help safeguard your family, friends and yourself, the Office of the State Fire Marshal offers the following tips:

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