Gunshots or fireworks: Here's how to tell the difference

ByJanell Harris KFSN logo
Gunshots or fireworks: How to tell the difference
Was that fireworks or gunshots? Here's what you need to know to tell the difference.

RICHMOND, Calif. -- Pop-pop-pop, a thunderous boom, or 30 seconds of rapid-fire cracks, but can you tell if it's gunshots or fireworks?

Hopefully, you'll never find yourself asking this question. Being able to quickly distinguish gunshots from fireworks and react fast is just one more skill to keep you safe.

We spoke with Alicia Moore, who works with the Richmond Police Department's Public Information Office, to learn how to distinguish the difference between fireworks and gunshots.


"Gunshots are very crisp and they have a certain timing or cadence to them."


"Fireworks are very loud, just like gunfire, but they are very sporadic. There is a lot of crackling, sometimes they echo and sometimes there is a whistle before the fireworks. You can see that it sounds kind of similar. If you close your eyes and imagine seeing beautiful fireworks, usually you can tell based on just the cadence alone."

If you are still not sure if what you heard was gunshots or fireworks, Moore advises you call 911 and let police know you think you heard gunshots.

VIDEO: Why do we set off fireworks on July 4th?

AccuWeather dives into the history of fireworks on July 4th.