Archives of the Mayor's Press Office

Date: Thursday, June 29, 2000

Release #251-00

Contact: Sunny Mindel/Curt Ritter (212) 788-2958
Marilyn Mode (212) 374-4227 (NYPD)
Dave Billig (718) 999-2056 (FDNY)


City Reports a 93% Decline in Fireworks Related Injuries
Since Creation NYPD/FDNY Fireworks Task Force

New Yorkers Urged To Call 1-800-FIRE-TIP To Report Illegal Fireworks

Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, joined by Police Commissioner Howard Safir and Fire Commissioner Thomas Von Essen, today reminded New Yorkers of the dangers of illegal fireworks and warned that the City's crackdown on illegal fireworks, which began in 1995, will continue throughout the Fourth of July weekend.

In 1995, Mayor Giuliani created the New York City Police Department/Fire Department Fireworks Task Force in an effort to eliminate the trafficking in illegal fireworks in New York City and to educate New Yorkers on the dangers of fireworks.

"This year's Fourth of July celebrations promise to be the most spectacular in memory," said Mayor Giuliani. "Throughout the City's five boroughs, families and friends will come together to celebrate our nation's independence, but tragically, every year thousands of people across the United States are needlessly injured by fireworks. Fireworks related injuries have declined by 93 percent and thousands of cases of illegal fireworks have been taken off the streets since the creation of the City's Fireworks Task Force in 1995. People interested in selling illegal fireworks in New York City are getting the message: if they do it, they'll be arrested and their fireworks will be confiscated. It's just not worth it.

"I wish all New Yorkers a safe and enjoyable Fourth of July -- whether it's viewing the parade of ships participating in OpSail 2000, watching the Macy's fireworks display in New York harbor, or picnicking in the Park."

Police Commissioner Safir said, "Last year's substantial reduction in serious fireworks-related injuries proves that the Fireworks Task Force is achieving the desired results here in New York City. I am calling on all New Yorkers to help us beat last year's numbers by completely eliminating illegal fireworks from their Fourth of July celebrations and enjoying safe public displays. It's not only the best way to protect your family and friends - it's the law. Those who still don't appreciate the tremendous risk of injury and property damage they create by using fireworks are going to see an NYPD out in full-force, and a very quick conclusion to their Holiday celebration."

Fire Commissioner Von Essen said, "Thousands of Americans are needlessly injured, maimed or seriously burned each year, as a result of illegal fireworks. Since its inception in 1995, the Fireworks Task Force's successful enforcement efforts have continued to play an invaluable role in the dramatic reduction of fireworks related injuries, and have contributed to the continued decline in fireworks-related fires in New York City."

In 1999, the Fire Department Bureau of Emergency Medical Services treated 13 serious fireworks related injuries, a 77 percent decline from 1995 (56 injuries). As of June 29th of this year, the Fire Department reported four fireworks-related injuries, a 93 percent decline from 1995.

New Yorkers with information about illegal fireworks are asked to call the Illegal Fireworks Hotline at 1-800-FIRE-TIP or 1-800-347-3847. All calls will be kept strictly confidential.

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