If illegal, fireworks would be out of control

When there are incidents, they are almost always caused by illegal use or illegal products.

  • Wednesday, July 3, 2019 10:50am
  • Opinion
Gabriel Felix.

Gabriel Felix.

A ban on fireworks was bound to happen eventually. To be honest, I’m surprised it hasn’t happened sooner. It was just a matter of time before those who remembered what it was like before fireworks were legalized passed on and the lessons learned from that time were forgotten.

Back when fireworks were illegal, injuries and fires due to fireworks were completely out of control. Instead of having a safe and legal source of fireworks, people went over to Tacoma and purchased all kinds of dangerous products from unlicensed stands. The results were terrible. Each year would see many injuries due to illegal use of dangerous products, and parts of the island would burn like clockwork annually.

When fireworks were legalized, the number of severe injuries due to fireworks dropped dramatically. The number of fires due to fireworks on Vashon also dropped, often to zero in previous years especially when there were cooperative safety programs in place.

Statistically, even on a really bad year, fireworks create a tiny fraction of the fires and injuries on Vashon. We are a very safe and responsible community, and for many years we had a run of no fireworks-related incidents at all. When there are incidents, they are almost always caused by illegal use or illegal products. Activities like using a barbeque or gas powered tool are statistically much more dangerous.

Want to see more injuries and fires? Ban legal fireworks and watch chaos erupt as people switch to illegal products. In an ideal world, a ban on fireworks would keep people from using them, but history has told us this is not what happens in reality. Like the failure of prohibition, making fireworks illegal makes the problems worse. Banning legal fireworks endangers our community.

As a community-oriented stand, we have always done our best to be part of the solution. We only carry very high-quality products and help educate people to use them safely. We run safety classes and provide all those Canine relaxation treats at no cost to the community to help the critters. We choose not to sell some classes of legal products (even though there is high demand) because we feel they are not safe enough. We scour the world to find quiet fireworks that don’t disturb the neighbors. I don’t believe this sort of community-oriented stand can be found anywhere else.

Perhaps more can be done to be a good neighbor and a responsible corporate citizen. Vashon Fireworks is here and we want to hear your constructive suggestions on how we can do better.

— Gabriel Felix is the founder of Vashon Fireworks Co.

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