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Police will be on patrol to enforce illegal fireworks rules

The Hollister Police Department is encouraging locals to download a smartphone app to help pinpoint where illegal fireworks activity is taking place

The Hollister Police Department, along with Hollister Fire and Code Enforcement, will be out in force watching for illegal/dangerous firework activity on the evening of July 4.

Because Independence Day falls on a weekday and after the Hollister motorcycle rally, HPD will able to dedicate officers for the first time for illegal fireworks patrol. The police department will be joining forces with fire department and code enforcement. Those persons who are found using or possessing illegal fireworks will be cited, police said in a press release. Property owners where illegal firework activity is occurring will also be cited. The local ordinance contain fines up $1,000 for a first offense.

Additionally, Hollister Police Department is pleased to announce its partnership with FOREalert, a free smartphone app that streamlines real-time, instant communication to our officers working on the fireworks patrol assignment. Citizens can stay completely anonymous since no registration, login or contact information is required to use the app, which can be downloaded at the iTunes App store for IOS devices. Location services must be turned on to use the FOREalert app.

If you see a launch or explosion that you estimate within 100 yards of your location, you can report it, using FOREalerts reporting mode. FOREalert uses your device's GPS chip to access your general location and elevation. Once you report (by touching the fireworks icon or loud music icon) and push send, a message with a general location (about 100 yards radius) of the incident goes to the fireworks team.

The Android version of the FOREalert is still in development. This use of FOREalert will be a test of the application and system. Interested citizens are encouraged to download this free app and use it if needed to report fireworks on July 4.

It should be noted that Hollister Police Department's MYPD App will no longer be used for fireworks reporting.

Chief of Police, David Westrick said, “This free app from FOREalert will enable more efficient fireworks reports. I encourage each of you to download the app. This app will be used in a trial basis over the Fourth of July holiday to report illegal fireworks. Illegal fireworks are a continual problem and have led to fires and many injuries over the years.”

You can also still report illegal fireworks over your phone using 911 for emergencies and 636-4331 for non-emergencies.

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Thanks HPD for caring and being proactive on this dangerous nuisance. I appreciate your efforts.

Illegal fireworks in my neighborhood drive my dogs crazy. Thanks, Chief Westrick, for advancing this technology in our community. Since I'm not the most tech savvy person, it took me a little time to figure out how to use the app. But it is a relatively simple process once you learn. It appears to be a brand new app because there are no YouTube tutorial videos posted yet (Hint, Hint.)

Here are some instructions:

  • Use your iPhone to download the FOREalert app from the App Store. 
  • Once downloaded, open the FOREalert app on your phone.
  • Enable applicable GPS 'location' capabilities of your iPhone in SETTINGS as suggested by the pop-up dialog boxes that appear in the app.
  • Enable the app to use your e-mail identity, such as your primary gmail account for example.
  • To prepare to notify HPD of a fireworks or loud noise complaint within 100 yards of your location, press the 'envelope' icon. This will open a 'Message History' panel.
  • In the 'Message History' panel, press the 'pencil' icon in the top right corner. This will open a 'Compose Message' panel.
  • In the 'Compose Message' panel, press the 'Fireworks' icon on the upper left segment of the panel which appears with the international No sign - a red circle with a red line drawn through it. This will automatically populate the Title with Fire works and message body with "Illegal fireworks heard in the area. Please respond.
  • Or press the Loud Noise icon to report loud music, etc. which will populate a different message. 
  • Your contact details are optional.
  • Press send.
Submitted by (sandy cabral) on

I wish the android version was available for download. We have to homes in our vicinity on Wright Rd. that launch fireworks every year.

Excellent professional fireworks display at the airport last night.  We really enjoyed it and we had a great view from the industrial park.

Thanks to the city for the celebration.

Marty Richman

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