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Thursday, August 11, 2022

4th of July Fireworks: How to Stay Safe and Healthy

The death of an 8-year-old boy at a July 4 block party in San Bernardino, an explosion that devastated an Ontario neighborhood and the recent seizure of £14,000 worth of illegal fireworks at a home in Azusa show how quickly the holiday was devastating. Could be more dangerous.

Mission Hills is holding a buyback event on Saturday, July 2 to try to reduce the amount of illegal fireworks in Los Angeles County, with more than 500 pounds of fireworks being exchanged for gift cards last year Was.

Thousands of people spend a vacation in emergency rooms each year, and by July 4th the blaze skies could be terrifying for pets. Last week, Eva Corlev’s 5-year-old Great Dane, Adrian, was horrified by threatening explosions in her Westminster neighborhood, dashed into the street and was hit by a car.

“I love the Fourth of July,” said Korlev, “but now every time I hear fireworks it annoys me … That’s why she ran away and was killed.”

This year, officials are particularly worried about extreme drought conditions. One wrong sparkler thrown in the brush can spell disaster.

“Someone accidentally set a tree on fire with fireworks, it may have been a misdemeanor,” said Riverside Police Detective James Dana. “But with a statewide drought emergency, you can see criminal charges of arson.”

To that end, here’s what to know that can help avoid a bad outcome.

‘Safe and Sensible’ vs. Illegal

In California, any object that explodes, rises into the air or moves around the ground, and anything not labeled “safe and sensible” by the state fire marshal, is considered illegal.

Legal, or “safe and sensible,” fireworks can be distinguished by their brightly colored paper, and will include a trade name and manufacturing information on the packaging. These typically include sparklers, ground spinners, fountains, snappers and caps.

According to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, fireworks that can be sold to the general public cannot contain more than 50 milligrams of flash powder in ground devices or more than 130 milligrams in aerial devices.

Any fireworks that exceed those limits are classified as display fireworks and anyone handling them requires an ATF license or permit.

Fireworks that are considered illegal explosive devices – M-80s, cherry bombs or quarter sticks – often come in plain casing without any identifying marks.

M-80s are considered felonies,” Dana said. An M-80 packs a little under the same amount of explosive powder as a stick of dynamite. One M-100 is equal to one full stick.

Such devices, Dana said, can be highly unstable because their short fuses can trigger an accidental detonation.

Are ‘Safe and Sensible’ Fireworks Allowed in Your County?

Laws on the use of “safe and sensible” fireworks vary from county to county.

In Orange County, fireworks are only legal in the cities of Anaheim, Buena Park, Costa Mesa, Fullerton, Garden Grove, Huntington Beach, Santa Ana, Stanton, Villa Park and Westminster.

With The End Of The Fourth Of July, Fireworks Prohibited Signs Are Posted At Irvine Regional Park In Orange On June 27, 2022.  (Photo By Mark Wrightmeier, Orange County Register / Scng)
With the end of the Fourth of July, fireworks prohibited signs are posted at Irvine Regional Park in Orange on June 27, 2022. (Photo by Mark Wrightmeier, Orange County Register / SCNG)

In Los Angeles County, cities that allow the use of “safe and sensible” fireworks include: Alhambra, Artesia, Azusa, Baldwin Park, Bell Bellflower, Bell Gardens, Carson, Commerce, Compton, Cudahi, Downey, El Monte, Hawaiian Gardens, Hawthorne, Huntington Park, Industry, Inglewood, Irwindale, La Mirada, La Puente, Lakewood, Lawndale, Linwood, Maywood, Monterey Park, Norwalk, Palmdale, Paramount, Pico Riviera, Rosemead, South El Monte, Santa Fe Springs, South Gate, Temple City and Vernon.

In San Bernardino County, fireworks are permitted only in the following cities: Adelanto, Chino, Colton, Sui and Rialto, as well as specific locations in Fontana, Grand Terrace, and San Bernardino.

All fireworks, including sparklers, are illegal in Riverside County – except at Blythe, Coachella, Desert Hot Springs and Indio – due to the increased risk of brush fires.

police response

According to law enforcement officials, calls for illegal fireworks in the days around July 4 have increased in recent years, and although resources may be stretched thin, a sample of agencies throughout Southern California told a reporter that Every effort has been made to answer every call.

In Orange County last year, the Sheriff’s Department dispatch received nearly 300 calls regarding fireworks, and more than 3,000 at other county agencies, Hilton said.

According to the Pasadena Police Commander, more than 1,000 calls were made to Riverside, and Pasadena saw a similar number. Art chute.

“We respond to every call, although when we are handling a large volume of calls there can be a delay in response,” Chute said.

Some agencies prefer that residents not call police emergency lines about fireworks, and use apps instead.

“Please do not call 911 or the non-emergency line to report illegal fireworks. Our senders receive hundreds of calls every day! When you report through the MyHB app instead of calling, our HBPD dispatchers can focus on potential life-and-death emergencies,” the Huntington Beach Police Department says on its Facebook page.

San Bernardino and Riverside Counties have been among those adding apps for firework complaints in recent years, and more cities now have web portals.

Although tracing the source of illegal fireworks can be difficult, Chut said officials don’t need to set them off for there to be consequences.

“If we can see fireworks going off in a backyard or a private residence, we don’t need a warrant to come in and issue a citation,” Chute said.

Hilton said he attributes the increase in calls in recent years to the coronavirus pandemic, with many county-sponsored firework shows cancelled, and residents finding a way to celebrate at home.

He said he expects the numbers to come down with more official events being held this year.


The Consumer Product Safety Commission says that approximately 66% of firework injuries occur around the holiday.

Last year, at a block party on South San Carlo Avenue in San Bernardino, someone lit a mortar-style fireworks and placed it in the launching tube. The tube somehow overturned, and when the mortar came out of the tube, it hit an 8-year-old boy in the chest.

Police went to the area of ​​the block party, but by the time they arrived, no one had been found – or the illegal fireworks.

Fireworks are often purchased legally in other states and smuggled into California, sometimes by criminal street gangs.

In Ontario in March 2021, a massive blaze of fireworks exploded, killing both occupants of the home, setting off other fires and damaging additional properties nearby.

Typically, a person possessing fireworks in violation of state fireworks laws is punishable as a misdemeanor or a public offense.

Fines can range from $500 to more than $50,000, depending on the gross weight of the fireworks in possession. Detective Dana said that amid the current, severe drought conditions in the region, an additional charge could be added if fireworks caught fire.

Los Angeles Firefighters Work On One Of Two Fires Late Friday, May 13, 2022, Which Was Started By Fireworks Near The 118 Freeway And Heavenhurst Avenue In Granada Hills.  (Photo By Rick Mcclure / Contributing Photographer)
Los Angeles firefighters work on one of two fires late Friday, May 13, 2022, which was started by fireworks near the 118 Freeway and Heavenhurst Avenue in Granada Hills. (Photo by Rick McClure / contributing photographer)

In 2020, an increase in the amount of palm tree and brush fires caused by fireworks in Riverside prompted the city to enact an ordinance to increase the amount of illegal storage, transport or firework from $1,000 to $5,000. Last year’s holiday resulted in the city having 31 citations and more than 800 pounds of illegal explosives seized for non-permitted possession and use of fireworks.

The past year saw 58 citations, and £652 confiscated.

Over the past four years, the San Bernardino County Fire Department has seized more than 121,600 pounds of fireworks and issued more than 700 citations.

a toll on the giants

For the elderly struggling with post traumatic stress disorder, the weeks leading up to the holiday can create anxiety, restlessness and fear.

“The sights, sounds or smells of explosive powder in fireworks can remind veterans of battlefield trauma,” said Richard Beam, a spokesman for the VA Long Beach Healthcare System.

For those living with someone who may be triggered by explosions, Beam recommends creating a comfortable environment in the home where loud noises are less likely to be heard, and with distractions to keep their minds busy.

“Have family members remind them that they are not in any danger, that they are with their loved ones,” Beam said. “Linking them to an old war friend can also be beneficial.”

“No one will understand better what they are going through,” he said.

As a courtesy, residents who plan to set off fireworks on their block can inform any neighbors who are experienced at what time the display will begin and how long it will last.

A veteran or family member who needs assistance can call the Veterans Affairs Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.

protect pets

“The past few weekends have had fireworks in the middle of the day until late at night,” said Westminster resident Corlev. “Friday night, fireworks were going on and my dog ​​was out on the lawn. She hit a hole in the fence and went down the street. ,

The day before Corlev got word from someone who saw a dog that matched Adrian’s description lying on the street.

Madeline Bernstein, president of the SPCLA, said there has been an increase in the number of pets after they fled their homes during the holidays. Throughout the night, staff are deployed to handle pets brought outside of shelters, and to try to reunite them with their owners quickly.

“Your pet dog is not street smart,” Bernstein said. “Your cat may be brave in the yard, but out in the open in a new environment, on top of all the loud noises, they are going to panic.”

To try to keep animals safe throughout the weekend, Bernstein recommends making sure the yard is secure and that pets have identification, including a tag or microchip.

“Take your pet out for a walk first and make sure they go to the bathroom,” she said. “Then put them inside in a quiet room with a TV or radio, give them their favorite toys and treats and just distract their attention.”

World Nation News Desk
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