Albuquerque again asks for app use to spot banned fireworks

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico's largest city is again asking residents to use an app to report illegal fireworks on July 4th instead of calling 911.

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For the second year in a row, Albuquerque officials are directing residents to the "OneABQ" app so authorities can streamline complaints, KOB-TV reports .

Some agencies in California and Texas already encourage residents to use apps to report the use of illegal fireworks around July 4th and New Year's Eve.

The app notifies law enforcement the locations of alleged violations and the agencies decide whether to dispatch the proper units to investigate instead of automatically sending first responders, said Albuquerque Fire Rescue spokesman Tom Ruiz.

"What the main point we want to talk about is — our front line units — we want to keep them as available as possible for the most critical of calls. Life-saving emergencies," Ruiz said.

Albuquerque's 911 calls reporting illegal fireworks fell by 80% from the year before after the app was used for the first time, officials said last year.

Three years ago, firefighting agencies from the Sacramento, California, area launched the "Nail 'Em" app to encourage residents to report illegal fireworks sales or usage.

Residents in Mesquite, Texas, can report illegal fireworks and celebratory gunfire by using the "CelebrateSafely" app provided by the city.

Eugene, Oregon, officials have launched the "Fireworks Alert" app that allows residents to take photos of suspected illegal fireworks and submit the locations to authorities.

People in Las Vegas are encouraged to report illegal firework usage through the website www.ISpyFireworks.com instead of calling 911.

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Information from: KOB-TV, http://www.kob.com