Wednesday, June 29, 2016

JULY 4 FIREWORKS- Warning About Fireworks Disguised as Tennis Balls

KOMO TV has published a warning about tennis balls being turned into homemade giant firecrackers. Making a homemade firecracker, whether in a tennis ball or other device such as a pipe bomb, is illegal.

Tennis balls are often fun toys for dogs to play catch with. Hence the danger to a family pet as well as to adults and children.

KOMO TV notes that a man found a tennis ball firecracker near a lake in the Everett area in February.

Things to look for if you find a tennis ball on the ground are signs of tampering such as detectable seam, indicating that the tennis ball has been cut open. A tennis ball with a string or wire sticking out of it may suggest that the tennis ball has a fuse. Also, a hole in the tennis ball may indicate that a fuse had fallen out.

While a spokesman for the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office says that they have not received reports of abandoned suspicious tennis balls, care should be taken for anything suspicious that you might find on the ground. If you see a suspicious tennis ball, DO NOT touch it! In a Portland incident in 2000, a man walking his dog, found a tennis ball on the ground and tossed it a few times to play catch with his pet. The tennis ball exploded killing his dog.

Call 911 and let them know where the suspicious tennis ball is located.


For other resources about fireworks, go to,

National Council on Fireworks Safety:

Snohomish County Fire Marshal:

Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office:

Monday, June 27, 2016

JULY 4- Use Fireworks Safely

The Fourth of July holiday is coming and fireworks will be part of the celebration.

Remember, in unincorporated Snohomish County, you can only shoot fireworks between 9am and 11:59pm on July 4. Cities within Snohomish County set their own regulations regarding fireworks. The following handout lists the rules for most cities in the county:

The Fire Marshal’s Office recommends that you take the following measures to use fireworks safely:

• in case of an emergency, when there is an immediate threat to life or property,

  dial 9-1-1.

            • have a bucket of water for emergencies and to douse used fireworks.

            • never build or experiment with homemade fireworks.

            • never let children handle or light fireworks; even sparklers can be dangerous.

• never ignite fireworks while holding them; light one at a time and move away


• make sure you give yourself enough room in a safe location – away from

  buildings, vehicles and flammable materials.

            • never light fireworks inside a structure.

            • watch what you wear; loose clothing can catch fire while handling fireworks.

            • never try to re-ignite fireworks that have malfunctioned; soak them in water,  

  then throw them away.

            • never ignite fireworks while you are under the influence of alcohol and/or mind-

              altering drugs.

            • never aim fireworks at vehicles, homes, or people.

Also, if you see illegal discharge of fireworks, please call the new non-emergency phone number, (425) 407-3999 for unincorporated Snohomish County or (425) 775-3000 for cities of Brier, Edmonds, Lynnwood, Mill Creek, Mountlake Terrace, Mukilteo and Woodway. DO NOT call 911 unless there is an immediate threat to life or property.

For other resources about fireworks, go to,

National Council on Fireworks Safety:

Snohomish County Fire Marshal:

Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office:

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

ORLANDO TRAGEDY- Beware of Scammers

We have been shocked one more time due to another mass killing, this time in Orlando, Florida. Even more disappointing is that warnings are being issued to watch out for scammers taking advantage of the tragedy by trying to convince people to give money to a bogus charity. While reports of this scam have not surfaced as yet in Snohomish County, a reminder to be careful is unfortunately in order.

Some simple tell-tale signs of a scam include:

·         A “charitable” organization that you have not heard of calling you on the phone or sending you an email requesting a donation.

·         The caller pressures you to donate immediately.

·         The caller asks you to wire cash or provide the number for a pre-paid debit card.

·         The caller offers to send a courier or overnight-delivery service to pick up your donation.

Long time readers already know to be careful. But if you know someone who might not be aware of this scam, please talk to them and show them the information in the following links:

Better Business Bureau:

USA Today:

Federal Trade Commission:

Friday, June 10, 2016

SNOHOMISH COUNTY- County Council Committee to Discuss Fireworks

Fireworks can be a controversial subject. This long time tradition for celebrating the 4th of July and for other celebrations such as greeting the New Year can polarize a community into for or against. Concern about fireworks has been shown with the dry summer last year and the expected dry summer this year.

The office of Councilmember Terry Ryan, Council District 4, has announced that the County Council Operations Committee will discuss fireworks options at its June 14 meeting. The meeting will begin at 9:00am and will be held in the council chambers on the 8th floor of the Robert J. Drewel Building at 3000 Rockefeller Ave Everett, WA 98201.

While no formal action will be taken at this meeting, the committee will take public comment. Verbal statements from the public are limited to three minutes per person.

If you cannot attend, but would like the council to know your opinion on the subject, you can send an email to the entire County Council at

Councilmember Ryan’s email address is

Thursday, June 9, 2016

CASCADIA RISING- Preparing for the Big Earthquake

Federal, state and local government agencies have been conducting an exercise this week to prepare for an expected 8.0-9.0 earthquake. The last time an earthquake of this magnitude, along with a major tsunami, occurred in the Pacific Northwest was in 1700. Scientists believe that a 9.0 earthquake and tsunami occur once every 200 to 500 years along an 800-mile ling fault called the Cascadia Subduction Zone.

The exercise has received press attention locally. Emergency management officials not only are publicizing the expected difficulties when a 9.0 earthquake occurs but also are encouraging all of us to be prepared to survive independently for 3 days to 2 weeks.

There are many resources online that you can use to educate yourself on what to do to prepare for an earthquake, as well as what to do to survive during an earthquake and steps to take to recover. Here are some helpful web sites:

Cascadia Rising 2016, This link gives an overview of the exercise:

Earthquake, Be Smart, Know your hazard; This site has materials that give instruction on how to prepare for an earthquake:

How to Prepare for an Earthquake; Here is a manual for earthquake preparation:

The Snohomish County Department of Emergency Management also has guidance to prepare for all kinds of disasters:

Here is a manual on emergency preparedness:

Wednesday, June 8, 2016


The Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office has issued a warning that citizens in the county have been receiving phone calls from someone claiming to be a Sheriff’s sergeant asking the victim to purchase a pre-paid credit card or money order.

According to the alert, the call goes something like this: "This is Sgt. Smith and I regret to inform you that you missed federal jury duty last April. A notice of your service was sent to you by certified mail. There is now a warrant out for your arrest and we are on our way to your house right now. If you don't pay the $5,000 fine to have the warrant lifted, we will arrest you. You can pay by providing me with the numbers on a pre-paid credit card over the phone."

The alert emphasizes that this is a scam.

For more information of recent scams reported in Snohomish County, go to

Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office:

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

SCAM UPDATE- Abduction Scam, Phony Weight Loss Pills, Rental Scams, Moving Scams

Abduction Scam. The Better Business Bureau and the FBI are warning citizens about a new scam. In the scam, that originated in the New York City area, the victim receives a call from an unknown person who claims to be holding their son or daughter for ransom. To gain release, the scammer demands that the victim wire money to them. Wired funds or pre-paid debit cards are untraceable.

Callers may make the phone calls at random or they may research their victim on social media to gather enough information about the family member to be able to make a convincing story. Callers often insist that the victim stay on the phone. This is an attempt to make it more difficult for the victim to verify that their family member is in danger or not. They also try to instill fear, panic and urgency to get the victim emotional and therefore compliant to their instructions. The victim is pressured to act immediately.

Frequently the calls originate from outside area codes. Calls often have come from the Puerto Rico area codes of (787), (939) and (856).

For more details on how this scam works and tips to protect yourself check out the following links:

Better Business Bureau:


Phony Weight Loss Pills. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has charged four defendants with peddling fake weight loss remedies with illegal spam emails. The defendants hack into individual email accounts to gain access to email addresses. The defendants send emails to those addresses making it appear that the emails came from the hacked account. The emails made it look like a friend was providing a tip about the weight loss product. Often the email contained a link to a web site that promoted the product with fake endorsements from famous celebrities or an independent consumer reporter. Claims included losing “4lbs/week of belly fat” or “41.7lbs in 2.5 months.”

Here more details:


Rental Scams. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) has noted an upswing of rental scams in its northwest region for the last year. Last month, a Wenatchee man reported to the BBB’s Scam Tracker that someone tried to rent his house without his knowledge. Several people showed up at his door ready to move in even though the house was not for sale or rent. Earlier in the year, a Spokane man reported being asked to fill out a credit report as a condition to tour an apartment allegedly for rent.

To protect yourself from a rental scam, the BBB suggests that you:

·         Ask for a walk-through inspection.

·         Research the location.

·         Pay with a credit card.

·         Be skeptical of low prices


Moving Scams. In a related scam, the AARP warns against movers who try to hold household goods hostage for higher quotes. According to AARP, some movers advertise on Craigslist or roadside signs. Their initial quote may be reasonable or lower than other movers. After the household goods are loaded on the truck, the quote sky-rockets and the household goods are held hostage until the extra is paid.

AARP recommends the following to avoid getting hurt by a moving company:

·         Get recommendations from friend, family or your real estate agent.

·         Know the red flags. That includes no on-site inspections of your goods, no written estimate, demands for a large deposit, insistence to sign blank or incomplete documents.

·         Know your rights and responsibilities. Download this handbook:

·        Understand the costs and estimates of the mover’s proposal.

·         Get a written order for service. This document lists what the mover will do and the pickup and delivery dates.