New Tool Helps Virginia Beach Report Over 150 Illegal Fireworks

As the 4th of July approached this year, Virginia Beach prepared for not only celebrations but also an anticipated increase in illegal fireworks. To address this issue and alleviate pressure on 911 dispatchers, the city implemented a new reporting system.

Simplifying Reporting

During holidays like the 4th of July, emergency services often face a surge in calls related to fireworks. The Virginia Beach Emergency Communications & Citizen Services (VBECCS) recognized the strain this places on dispatchers.

To streamline the reporting process, they introduced a dedicated non-emergency line, (757) 385-5000, specifically for fireworks complaints.

This new system includes a prompt that immediately directs callers to specify if they are reporting fireworks. If a caller indicates a fire or other emergency, they are promptly directed to dial 911. This distinction ensures that urgent situations receive immediate attention while reducing unnecessary burdens on emergency lines.

Community Engagement and Response

From July 3 to July 7, Virginia Beach residents embraced the new system, submitting over 150 reports of illegal fireworks. The highest number of reports, 117, came on July 4, highlighting community participation in maintaining public safety.

The city’s decision to utilize an online questionnaire for fireworks reports proved effective. This approach allowed residents to provide detailed information about the location and nature of fireworks, enabling authorities to respond swiftly and efficiently.

Future Implementation

Encouraged by the success of the new system, Virginia Beach plans to continue using it during future holidays. This proactive approach is expected to enhance response times and ensure that 911 dispatchers are readily available for genuine emergencies. By refining the process of reporting non-emergency incidents, the city aims to better serve the community’s safety needs.

Residents are reminded that while personal information is not required in the report, they should still call 911 for any situation posing an immediate threat to safety. This streamlined reporting method aims to manage the influx of fireworks complaints without compromising emergency response capabilities.

Benefits of the New System

1. Enhanced Efficiency: By directing non-urgent calls to a dedicated line, emergency services can respond more efficiently to critical situations.

2. Community Participation: The system encourages residents to actively contribute to public safety by reporting illegal activities through an accessible platform.

3. Data Utilization: Detailed reports generated by the online questionnaire provide valuable insights for identifying hotspots of illegal fireworks and planning enforcement strategies.

4. Relieving Strain on Emergency Services: By minimizing non-emergency calls to 911, dispatchers can focus on emergencies, potentially saving lives.


Virginia Beach’s new fireworks reporting system has proven invaluable in managing the surge of complaints during the 4th of July festivities. With over 150 reports processed in a few days, the system has demonstrated its effectiveness in supporting emergency services.

Going forward, this approach will play a pivotal role in safeguarding public safety during holidays, ensuring swift and effective responses to emergencies of all kinds.

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