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Commissioner Steve Novick

Official Website for Commissioner Steve Novick

Phone: 503-823-4682

fax: 503-823-4019

1221 SW 4th Ave. Suite 210, Portland, OR 97204

Staying Safe this Fourth of July

The Fourth of July holiday is typically one of the busiest times of the year for the Bureau of Emergency Communications, which answers calls to 9-1-1 and the Police non-emergency line (503.823.3333) and dispatches help.  Stay safe while enjoying the holiday with friends and family.

Fireworks are a big reason for the increase in calls to the Bureau over the Fourth of July.  Oregon law bans possession, use, or sale of any fireworks that fly, explode, travel more than one foot into the air or more than six feet on the ground.  Often, legal and illegal fireworks used in neighborhoods during this holiday result in thousands of complaints.  Many illegal fireworks are visible for miles and can result in dozens of calls to 503.823.3333, tying up call takers.  There are some other resources available this weekend for reporting fireworks:

  • Portland Fire & Rescue has developed an online reporting form where Portlanders can file reports about the use of illegal fireworks in the City of Portland.  To report fireworks on this form, go to www.portlandoregon.gov/fire/71098.  This online form is intended to help track illegal fireworks use.  While filing a report will not automatically send out an enforcement team, it will allow the City to identify the areas where enforcement is needed.  The data will also be used to identify areas that have a high volume of illegal fireworks use so we can increase education and enforcement efforts in the future.
  •  Also, Portland Fire & Rescue will be staffing (503) 823-BOOM (2666) during peak fireworks periods.  You can call this number to report illegal fireworks.

Even with these tools available, we anticipate high call volume to 9-1-1 and (503) 823-3333 this weekend.  The Bureau of Emergency Communications schedules extra staff to cover these shifts, but call volume may still cause increased call hold times.  You can help by calling 9-1-1 only when necessary.

As always, call 9-1-1 if you have a life threatening emergency and need an immediate response from Police, Fire, or an ambulance. Call 9-1-1 to stop a crime in progress, report a fire, or call for an ambulance.  Do not call 9-1-1 to report fireworks unless there is an active fire hazard.  Examples of active fire hazards include aerial fireworks that have caught a roof on fire and fireworks shot directly at a person.  Instead, help keep your neighborhood safe by calling (503) 823-BOOM or (503) 823-3333 to report illegal fireworks, or use the online form.  Call (503) 823-3333 for all other non-emergency issues.   And, please know that the Bureau of Emergency Communications answers calls to 9-1-1 first, even when a call to 503-823-3333 has been holding longer.  If you call 503.823.3333 you may be put on hold without warning so the call taker can respond to a 9-1-1 call.   

Best wishes for a safe and happy holiday weekend.