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Don't call 911 to report illegal fireworks, dial police non-emergency line instead

Fireworks
Posted at 7:03 AM, Jul 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-02 07:25:37-04

PARMA, Ohio — It's inevitable: Fireworks are going to be set off in your neighborhood throughout the holiday weekend.

But before you pick up the phone to call 911, don't.

“Happens every year and the screen just blows up with fireworks, calls, complaints. You know, people are blowing off fireworks," said Lt. Daniel Ciryak with the Parma Police Department. “If they're calling from a cell phone, it'll end up going to the county. Obviously, they're much busier. They deal with, you know, higher volume of calls, so it ties them up and then they have to transfer it over to the city and it just takes more time. So it's a lot easier if somebody is going to call the non-emergency number.”

Police urge residents who want to report illegal fireworks to call their department's non-emergency line.

Last year the Parma Police Department received nearly 170 fireworks complaint calls just over the Fourth of July weekend. The Cleveland Police Department received more than 600 calls.

But sometimes there’s confusion over what’s sounds like a firework and what’s sounds like a gunshot, which leads to an influx of calls.

RELATED: Fireworks can trigger trauma for shooting victims and their families

“We're not asking people to provide false information. I mean, if they truly believe that it's a gunshot call, you know, address it as such, you know, that would be more of an emergency type call," said Lt. Ciryak.

The bottom line: it's still illegal to set off fireworks in Ohio.

“You can be cited. You can be arrested for it. But you know, we do understand that it's the Fourth of July and people are going to be out celebrating and, you know, just use caution, be careful and, you know, use your head.”

Here's a list of non-emergency numbers of police departments across Northeast Ohio:

  • Cleveland: 216-621-1234
  • Parma: 440-885-1234
  • Parma Heights: 440-884-1234
  • Lakewood: 216-521-6773
  • Westlake: 440-871-3311
  • North Olmsted: 440-777-3535
  • Middleburg Heights: 440-243-1234
  • Independence: 216-524-1234
  • Garfield Heights: 216-475-1234
  • Brecksville: 440-526-8900
  • Beachwood: 216-464-1234
  • Shaker Heights: 216-491-1220
  • Euclid: 216-731-1234
  • Willowick: 440 585-1234
  • Willougby: 440-951-1234