The rain on the 4th of July washed out a lot of home fireworks shows so those in Omaha took advantage of the nice weather on the 5th to finish the celebration. That didn’t sit well with others and the Douglas County Emergency Communications Center received call after call from residents who were fed up with the noise. Director David Sleeter says the calls came in so fast they jammed the 911 emergency number.
Sleeter says, “We had extremely, abnormally high amount of calls relating to fireworks related incidents.”
Those trying to call 911 on cell phones were getting a busy signal but calls from land lines were going through. Sleeter reports the Communications Center received 434 fireworks related calls on Thursday compared to 171 a year ago.
Sleeter says they eventually sent out a message on Twitter asking those wanting to complain about fireworks use their non-emergency number. He says, “It assisted. Yes, it helped. We are working on alternatives such as that to use in the future.”
Omaha police conducted a special eleven day fireworks enforcement operation. Officers wrote a total of 32 citations, received 157 calls before the 11 p.m. cut-off time and 295 after 11 p.m. Officers initiated seven calls. Officers seized no illegal fireworks this year.