Martin deMasi Fire Chief
Payson Fire Department
The Payson Fire Department is asking local residents to refrain from using fireworks of any kind during the Fourth of July holiday, or any other time of year.
Each year fireworks account for a substantial number of preventable injuries, deaths and fires. In a report from the Centers for Disease Control, during 2006, 11 people were killed and more than 9,200 were injured from fireworks-related incidents in the U.S. Parents should be especially vigilant because more than one-third of those injured were under the age of 15.
Because fireworks can be so dangerous and deadly, the safest way to enjoy them is through public displays conducted by professional pyrotechnicians.
As the celebration of our nation's independence grows near, along with it comes the use of ill advised or illegal fireworks. According to the National Fire Protection Association, over the past 20 years the U.S. has averaged about 30,000 fires each year that are associated with fireworks. This includes nearly 2,500 structure and vehicle fires that result in over $39 million in damage annually. Sixty percent of these fires occur around the 4th of July. Consumer fireworks are illegal in Arizona and the Payson Police and Fire Departments will be extra vigilant and will respond quickly to any reports of illegal fireworks.
Weeds, dead brush, and dry conditions have put the Payson area at risk for a wildfire. Careless use of fireworks, which are illegal in Arizona, could set off a fire that could quickly become a catastrophe. One only needs to watch the local news, or pick up a newspaper to see the headlines about wildfires that are burning throughout our state.
Speaking of fires now is a good time to remove weeds and dead brush from your property. Not when a fire is approaching! Your local fire department can help you in making your property fire wise with individual lot evaluations, finding a local contractor who specializes in fire wise landscaping or locating brush disposal pits for those who can do the work themselves.
Fireworks shows can be enjoyable and are part of the pageantry of our Independence Day, but only in hands of professionals. The Town of Payson is sponsoring a fireworks show at Green Valley Park on the evening of July 4th. The show begins around 9 p.m., so get there early to get a spot where you can safely enjoy a grand fireworks show to celebrate our nation's independence!