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Keeping Safe this Fourth of July

Posted by Scott Edwards | Jun 30, 2020 | 0 Comments

The Fourth of July is my favorite holiday. Friends. Family. Neighbors. Backyard games. Meat on the fire. Watermelon. Corn on the cob. Picnics. Parades. It's a day when, for the most part, we can all just be Americans and celebrate. Many people choose to celebrate with fireworks. This year, in light of the ongoing impacts of the Coronavirus/COVID-19, most all community celebrations have been cancelled. Because there are no community events, many of us will turn to private parties to celebrate.

It should come as no surprise that in light of the Coronavirus/COVID-19, it is still recommended that we maintain six feet of separation from others, wear a face mask or face covering, wash our hands frequently, and cover our coughs/sneezes. Beyond these recommendations, as of the publishing of this post, Clark County remains in Stage 2 of Washington's Phased Approach to modifying physical distancing guidelines. In Phase 2, recreational activities are still limited to five or fewer people outside of our households and our weekly gatherings are still limited to five people per week. Only when the state approves Washington's application for Phase 3 will these limits be increased to fifty people. We should keep these guidelines in mind as we finalize our plans for this weekend.

In addition to rules which govern the social interactions this weekend, it's important to remember the local laws governing the use of fireworks this weekend. Though we can already purchase fireworks (as of June 28) within unincorporated Clark County, it is illegal to discharge fireworks except for on July 4. It is absolutely illegal to purchase or discharge fireworks within the Vancouver City limits. Other cities in Clark County have varying restrictions on the use of fireworks. The following information is summarized from a publication prepared by the Clark County Fire Marshal and provides the legal discharge times for fireworks:

Location

July 1

July 2

July 3

July 4

July 5

Unincorporated Clark County

Not Permitted

Not Permitted

9 am to midnight

Not Permitted

Amboy

Battle Ground

9 am to 11 pm

Camas

Not Permitted

La Center

9 am to 10 pm

Ridgefield

Not Permitted

Washougal

Woodland

9 am to 11 pm

Yacolt

9 am to midnight

9 am to 11 pm

Vancouver

Not Permitted

If you're uncertain about the laws in place at your address, Clark County has an easy-to-use tool to help determine whether you can use fireworks at your address.

Oregon laws are somewhat different in that Oregon prohibits the possession, sale or use of any firework that flies, explodes, or travels more than six feet on the ground or 12 inches in the air.

Wherever you are, we'd encourage you to practice the Four Be's of Safe Firework Use:

  • Be Prepared before lighting fireworks: Keep water available by using a garden hose or bucket;
  • Be safe when lighting fireworks: Keep children and pets away from fireworks;
  • Be responsible after lighting fireworks: Never relight a dud. Wait 15 to 20 minutes, then soak in a bucket of water before disposal; and
  • Be aware: Use only legal fireworks and use them only in legal places.

We have also authored other posts on our blog that might be helpful as you consider your plans this Fourth of July weekend:

While I was preparing this post, I also happened upon an article published on Portland, Oregon's website entitled “Keep Pets Safe/Secure This Fourth of July.” It's worth the read if you have a furry friend at home this weekend.

We should all do our part to keep us safe this holiday weekend and we at Schauermann Thayer wish all of you a very happy and safe Fourth of July.

About the Author

Scott Edwards

Scott Edwards is a partner at Schauermann Thayer Jacobs Staples & Edwards law firm. Scott is licensed in both Oregon and Washington, and has been practicing law since 2008. Though Scott started his career working for insurance companies, he now focuses his practice on personal injury, auto accident, biking accident, and insurance cases. In his free time, Scott enjoys spending time pedaling around the streets of Vancouver, Washington and Portland, Oregon on his bicycle.

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