West Richland city council member puts up fireworks safety signs
As fireworks stands begin to appear in our area, so are some very visible signs warning people to obey the laws about fireworks.
West Richland city council member Richard Bloom put more than a dozen signs up in West Richland on Keene Road, to remind residents about the laws regarding fireworks.
Bloom says he wants to emphasize citizen responsibility with the signs, so everyone has a safe holiday.
"Personal responsibility for the fireworks is what's more important. They're dangerous" said Bloom.
A few days ago, Bloom put up 14 signs along Keene Road, near the Bombing Range Road round-a-bout.
One group of signs states in a nursery rhyme fashion: "You shoot a rocket in the air, where it lands, you better care".
The other one explains the city's rules: No rockets, and no mortars with a diameter larger than 1 3/4", and no sparks in the parks.
Last month, the West Richland City Council voted unanimously to restrict fireworks from being discharged in all the city's parks; including the parking lots.
"Last year, we had six fires. Most of them were either carelessness or caused by illegal fireworks" said Bloom.
Many residents driving by say they like the signs, especially because they could be hit with a $250 fine if they violate the laws.
"I actually think they're a great idea because we had the 4th of July here last year, and didn't realize that you were able to do all the big fireworks. And so now, I've noticed that now the rules have changed, so it's actually pretty helpful to be aware of the changes" said Holly Harper, West Richland resident.
"I hate to quote a very old show, but G.I. Joe had it right. 'The more you know, the better off you'll be'" said Joel Graham, West Richland resident.
And firefighters say the extra information could make their job a little easier if people pay attention.
"Obviously, if we're making people more aware of what the laws and what the rules and regulations are, it's got to help in the long run for us to make it a little bit easier for us" said Chief William Whealan, Benton County Fire District #4.
Bloom says the bottom line is to keep the city safe, while still being able to have fun.
"And let's not let irresponsible people ruin it for the rest of us" said Bloom.
Fireworks go on sale Thursday.
Certain types of fireworks are legal in Richland, West Richland, Benton City, Grandview, Zillah and unincorporated parts of Benton County.
But they are banned in Kennewick, Pasco, Prosser, Connell, Yakima, Franklin County and unincorporated parts of Yakima County.
If you have any questions about what is legal or illegal in our area, you can contact your local fire or police department.