GB Police see increase in firework complaints, permits needed

Published: Jul. 1, 2020 at 4:48 PM CDT
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - With the cancellation of many 4th of July firework celebrations this year, some may might be thinking of holding their own firework display, but fire officials say you’ll need a permit for that.

“We are seeing a dramatic increase in the number of fireworks complaints coming into police department,” said Commander Kevin Warych, Green Bay Police Department.

It's not even the 4th of July yet, but police have already been inundated with phone calls about fireworks.

"Some days it's overwhelming to the point where those calls are not responded to as quickly as possible because all calls are prioritized," said Warych.

In fact, the police shouldn't even be getting these types of calls because it's illegal to set off fireworks without a permit in Green Bay.

"If it leaves the ground or explodes, then you typically need a permit," said Captain Joe Gabe with the Green Bay Metro Fire Department.

So far, Captain Gabe said the department has only issued one permit for this weekend within Green Bay. He also said it's very difficult for the average person to get a permit.

"You have to have requirements and training of working for pyrotechnics company, large amount of insurance, $6 million in insurance, you have to pay money for fee and we would come out and inspect it and be there for the show," said Gabe.

The De Pere Fire Department had one request for a permit, but Fire Chief Alan Matzke said the person backed out because of the insurance requirement.

In Suamico, the fire chief said they’ve approved about 20 permits so far. However, the department will be looking over its policies in the future.

Captain Gabe said snakes, sparklers, fountains and smoke bombs are all allowed in Green Bay without a permit, but as soon as a firework leave the ground and explodes, it's considered illegal without a permit.

"They could gt anything from a warning up to $1,000 a citation.

“We don’t want to give tickets. We want compliance,” said Warych. “With the cancellation of firework shows, people still want to celebrate the 4th and we are all so for that, but we want you to do it safely, quietly to not disrupt other people and leave the fireworks to the professionals.”

When it comes to sparklers, Lt. Shauna Walesh with the Green Bay Metro Fire Department has a few safety tips:

Adult Supervision at all times

Children under age 5 should not use sparklers. Lt. Walesh says a sparkler can get as hot as a blow torch.

No baggy clothing as it can catch fire rather quickly

Always wear shoes

Stay 6 feet away from everything

Hold the sparkler out in front of you to keep the sparks away from the body.

When the sparkler is done, soak it in a tub of water to make sure it’s completely out.

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