FIRE MARSHAL, VENDORS ANNOUNCE COMPREHENSIVE SAFETY EFFORTS FOR 2007

FIRE MARSHAL, VENDORS ANNOUNCE COMPREHENSIVE SAFETY EFFORTS FOR 2007

Doña Ana County Fire Marshal Paul Chavez has joined most Doña Ana County fireworks vendors to devise a comprehensive strategy for keeping Doña Ana County’s residents safe during the Fourth of July holiday season.

The vendors and the Doña Ana County Fire Marshal's Office have been working closely for more than a year to develop a meaningful and productive plan for action related to fireworks safety in all Doña Ana County communities. The vendors already have unveiled significant steps they are taking voluntarily and collectively to emphasize safety, courtesy and responsibility in 2007.

One such step is the voluntary suspension of sales on most stick-rockets and other aerial fireworks that can cause fires if used improperly. In addition, the vendors hired Robert Flanagan, an expert in fireworks safety, to conduct safety training for fireworks vendors prior to the July 4 holiday. More than 80 people attended the training sessions. The vendors also will hand out safety flyers with each purchase.

In addition, the vendors will sponsor 10 a.m. fireworks-safety clinics in Doña Ana and Anthony on Saturday, June 30, 2007, at the volunteer fire stations in those communities. The public is encouraged to attend.

Chavez said his office will show zero leniency when inspecting vending booths for safety and compliance with all New Mexico and Doña Ana County laws pertaining to fireworks sales. In addition, the vendors have asked area municipal and magistrate judges to impose the maximum allowable penalties on anyone cited for improper use of fireworks within Doña Ana County.

Sales are expected to begin in late June.

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Reporters seeking more information or interviews may call county Public Information Director Jess Williams at (505) 525-5801.