SPD says not to call 911 to report fireworks + Closing precinct lobbies for summer patrols

It’s Independence Day week, and that means lots of fireworks in the neighborhood.

Understandably, recent shootings in the neighborhood have made people a little jumpy when they hear the sound of exploding gunpowder. If you hear gunshots, obviously call the police. But if it’s just fireworks, SPD says NOT to dial 911:

The fourth of July is a busy time for the Seattle Police Department and its 911 call center. Along with the reports of injuries and fires that accompany the fourth of July festivities every year, 911 call centers are also typically slammed with calls about fireworks-related noise.

While the Seattle Police Department values every call from neighbors about concerns in their communities, the Fourth has typically been a loud and busy day for police and firefighters over the last 236 years, and frequent fireworks noise complaints make it more difficult for 911 operators, police, and fire officials to respond to life-threatening emergencies across the city.

So, DO CALL 911: to report fires, injuries, crimes, or any other life-threatening incidents.

DO NOT CALL 911: to complain about noise from fireworks, or the weather.

The Seattle Police Department would also like to remind you that the possession, manufacture, storage, sale, and use of fireworks is prohibited in Seattle, punishable by up to a year in jail and a $5,000 fine. 
If you do have concerns about fireworks in your neighborhood, but nothing has been damaged and no one has been injured, you can still call the Seattle Police non-emergency number at (206) 625-5011.

Have a safe Fourth of July!

So how do you tell the difference between fireworks and gunshots? Well, that’s not always easy. We often get reports from CDNews readers who heard gunshots that turn out to be fireworks (thanks for everyone who sends us tips, even if they turn out to be nothing!). Sometimes it’s easy to tell the difference (things that whistle or crackle, Black Cats that light in series, etc). But other times it’s hard to tell. Our suggestion is to use your best judgment.

You can also report fireworks in the comments below (or let us know when your rad illegal neighborhood street display is scheduled to begin, though we can’t promise SPD won’t also find out…)

Closing precinct lobbies

SPD precinct lobbies are operating on reduced hours as the department redeploys 25 desk officers to other tasks, CHS reports. The measure is temporary, and SPD says it will help them respond to emergency calls in busy summer months, which are their top priority.

14 thoughts on “SPD says not to call 911 to report fireworks + Closing precinct lobbies for summer patrols

  1. I think calling 911 if fireworks are being used in a dangerous manner, for instance thrown out of car or resident windows or at others. Waiting for a definite injury or fire is not the way to go. I think that they could redo their announcement.

  2. I absolutely agree, Joanna. I think the key may be to stress to the 911 operator that it is not the noise that causes concern, it is the danger that the bottle rocket or whatever will cause a fire in the long dry grass that is in the vicinity (or whatever the actual circumstances are).

  3. …if they are illegal and someone is using them then why aren’t they arrested or fined or all the fireworks taken away? The house at the end of the block does a combo of guns and fireworks — every year until about 4 in morning. The dogs quiver. The humans too. What can be done? Police don’t come even if you say there are guns involved. They don’t believe us. Never have. It’s very frustrating. They shoot the guns and fireworks over the houses — 30 guys standing in the street with loud music and their police scanner going. Never have the police believed us. Never.

  4. What neighborhood (be as specific as you can, but as general as you need to be)?

  5. i just watched a car slam on the brakes just feet away from driving over a firework ready to go off. Yet, they continue to set them off in the middle of the street

  6. Call the fire department. They’ll have to investigate if you happen to see flames.

  7. GAR has it ever occured to you why the activity you see is not allowed anywhere else in the city? Did you ever wonder why it is allowed in the CD by the police? Did you ever wonder what you might call an area where lawlessness is tolerated by the police so that other neighborhoods do not have to put up with it? Do you wonder how much budget dollars are saved by the city by keeping crime in one area?

  8. It’s independace day. Guns and mock bombs are OK. They were going on all over the state and county. Seattle actually sees much much less of the activity. You should have seen things in Marysville. Man what a bunch of fun. Just think of it as a reminder of what you don’t have to deal with – War.

  9. my pizza arrived safely! whew!! all though the driver was a little rattled, everything tasted great!

  10. Last night, I thought it was fireworks hitting my house. Woke up to find a hole in my house. It was a gunshot through the guestroom that traveled down the hall and lodged itself in the ceiling. Why is shooting guns an acceptable way to celebrate the 4th of July?

  11. It is a celebration of war. Guns are the most true to form method of celebration.

  12. Could we be talking about Judkins 2500 block? There’s always a blowout there (fine), but after 11 gunfire rang out, a dozen rounds or more. Shortly thereafter everything got quiet (and no medic response), so I assume law enforcement shut it down.
    I was listening to the scanner and heard lots of SPD managing Gasworks traffic in the north, and a response to loud fireworks on W Blaine (the sound of pearls being clutched). I should have called too, but was tired and disgusted. Thanks to the neighbors who did call. One stray bullet and …