City of Minneapolis: Don't call 911 for firework noise complaints

As the Fourth of July approaches and as Minneapolis, like other cities across the nation, sees an increase in firework reports, the City of Minneapolis asking people not to call 911 for noise complaints related to fireworks.

In a message Wednesday, the city says fireworks complaints can overload 911 call centers around Independence Day.

Officials ask residents to only call 911 when the fireworks are posing a threat to someone or a fire hazard. Otherwise, callers should use the 311 app to report illegal firework use.

Sunday night, as fireworks exploded nearby while police investigated a homicide, a Minneapolis police spokesperson talked the police response for fireworks.

“We would love to be able to have the ability to go after fireworks complaints, things like that, and we will when we have the time, but sadly we’re really focusing our efforts on the preservation of life,” Minneapolis Police spokesperson John Elder said.

Elder didn't have any further information on why firework use has increased.

The City of Minneapolis also provided a guide on firework safety:

Fireworks safety

• Read, understand and follow the instructions on each device before using.
• Use fireworks with close adult supervision.
• Choose a safe place to use fireworks. Fireworks should only be ignited outdoors and away from animals, buildings, storage tanks, brush or combustible materials.
• Anyone acting in an irresponsible manner or who appears to be under the influence of alcohol or other drugs should not handle or discharge fireworks.
• Keep fireworks away from small children and store them in a cool dry location away from sources of ignition (heat and flames). 
• Never ignite fireworks inside another container such as a bottle or can.

What’s legal, what’s not

• Non-explosive fireworks are legal in Minneapolis. Examples include sparklers, cones, tubes that spark, snakes and party poppers. 
• It is legal to use these types of fireworks in your yard or on your sidewalk. 
• Fireworks that explode or take off are illegal in Minneapolis. Examples include firecrackers, bottle rockets, missiles, roman candles, mortars and shells. Besides being illegal, these types of fireworks are upsetting to veterans with PTSD and to pets, especially dogs.
• It is illegal to use any fireworks on public property including roads, alleys, schools and parks.

When to call 911

For fireworks-related issues that pose life safety threats or fire hazards, residents should call 911 for police, fire or medical help.

Examples of calls that should go to 911 include:  

• A person injured by fireworks.
• Airborne fireworks landing on a building or wooded area posing a fire risk.
• The size of a fireworks gathering and unruly behavior beginning to pose a threat to others. Find tips on calling 911 here.