At this time of year, the U.P. Police Department is flooded with questions about fireworks. Please take a minute to review these frequently asked questions before purchasing fireworks or calling in a complaint or reporting an incident:
Q: Are fireworks legal to discharge in University Place?
A: Yes, but only on July 4 between the hours of 9 a.m. and midnight. You must be 16 years of age or older, or under the direct supervision of an adult.
Q: What fireworks are legal for discharge in U.P.?
A: Legal fireworks in University Place include fountains, cones, novelties, smokes and sparklers/morning glories. Get more information on the City’s website.
Q: Can I purchase fireworks in University Place?
A: There are no authorized vendors selling fireworks in University Place this year. Residents will have to venture to Lakewood or unincorporated Pierce County to purchase legal fireworks. Please be sure you are only purchasing the items mentioned above that are legal for discharge in U.P. on the Fourth of July.
Q:I can hear/see illegal fireworks going on near my home. What should I do?
A: If you can determine an address where illegal fireworks are being discharged or where fireworks are being discharged outside of the legal hours on the Fourth of July, you can call the 24-hour non-emergency line at 253.287.4455 or 800.562.9800. If there is an immediate threat to life or safety, dial 911.
Q: I can hear illegal fireworks going off, but I have no idea where they are coming from. Can I still call these numbers?
A: You can call those numbers and report the activity but responding officers will have greater difficulty addressing the issue. In addition to fireworks calls coming in on the Fourth of July, officers see an increase in reported life/safety issues that often occur on alcohol-infused holidays. These calls are in addition to the routine calls UPPD handles. In 2019 and 2020 respectively, calls to UPPD on July 4 were 218 percent and 169 percent above the daily average of dispatched calls in the City.
Q: When I dial those numbers the phone rings and rings and no one picks up. What should I do?
A: You should continue to call. South Sound 911 serves all unincorporated Pierce County and every incorporated City within the County, including University Place. The Fourth of July presents the highest call volume for 911 across Pierce County each year.
Q: My pets really suffer every year during the Fourth of July. What can I do to help them?
A: Experts recommend you keep your dog away from fireworks. Also, make sure your pet is licensed and microchipped so that if they run off, they can be found and returned easily. For more tips on how to keep your dog calm during fireworks, visit the American Kennel Club.
Q: I have PTSD and fireworks noise is really upsetting to me. What can I do?
A: There are some useful suggestions on how to plan ahead for potential fireworks noise in your neighborhood. Check out Tips for Coping with Fireworks When You Have PTSD.
Q: Are there other sources of fireworks information and safety tips I can reference?
A: Check out this 2019 UP Responds video from UPTV.