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Petition for a Fireworks Ordinance East Washington

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This petition is a request to the elected officials of the East Washington Borough Council and the Mayor of East Washington. We, the below signatories, do hereby ask that the Council recognize the following:

  • Fireworks pose a danger to the people and property of East Washington due to the close proximity of the houses in the area and the age/make of the houses as well.
    • State law requires that all fireworks be set off 150 ft away from any occupied structure (this includes, any structure, vehicle or place adapted for overnight accommodation).
  • Fireworks should NEVER be handled by children, minors or persons under the influence of alcohol or other substances.
  • Some residents of East Washington have been extremely mindful of their firework displays- keeping to reasonable times and cleaning up afterwards. Others have not been as thoughtful- setting them off at all hours of the day and night, setting them off in busy streets, and setting them off under powerlines and transformers. These residents have also not cleaned up the waste produced from their displays.
  • East Washington does not have a dedicated firefighting department and therefore is reliant on other municipalities for our protection. The shear distance that firefighters need to travel does complicate and extend any response time.
  • Other municipalities within Pa have already passed ordinances limiting the use of fireworks, namely, Lower Paxton Township and Swatara Township.
  • Firework quality is not as well-regulated as it should be. This can be seen in the June 28, 2020 U.S. Consumer Product Commission recall of G-Force Fireworks that had been overpacked with pyrotechnics. This was initiated after an 8-year-old boy lost a hand and another 12-year-old girl was injured.
  • Fireworks are not only a violation of the noise ordinances in East Washington but disrupt the lives of the elderly, extremely young and lawfully owned animals within East Washington.

In acknowledging these facts, we, the signatories, do request that the Council and Mayor of East Washington create an ordinance regarding the use of fireworks within the limits of East Washington to contain the following:

  • Designated times and days that fireworks may be used within the Borough limits.
  • Provide a permitting process for residents that wish to set off fireworks outside of the set dates and times (such as in the case of weddings, graduations, religious holidays, etc).
  • Establish a monetary penalty system for residents that break the ordinance.
  • A requirement that landlords be notified if a tenant should be found in violation of this ordinance.
  • Establish a way that residents may report ordinance violations without having to dial 911 unless there is a true emergency.
    • This system would be similar to other ordinance violation reports where persons could use photographic, video or corroborating eye witness testimony of the violation.

Further, in accepting that East Washington is not an island and is impacted by the surrounding municipalities (namely the City of Washington and the Township of South Strabane), we ask that the Borough Council and Mayor work with the elected officials of Washington County and the surrounding municipalities on this issue. This would include:

  • Meeting with the Fire Departments/Fire Chief/Fire Marshall to discuss the response plan for an emergency brought on by firework usage.
  • Discussion of each areas’ own firework plan (should it exist or be under discussion).

In closing, we the below signatories thank the elected officials and employees of the East Washington Borough for their time, their attention and their commitment to our neighborhood.

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