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Safety Tips: 4th of July

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Independence Day is one of the most celebrated holidays of the year. People put on their red, white and blue and flock to celebrate the occasion with friends and family. Fireworks are a staple of the holiday as well, with loud booms and colorful sparks resonating across the country. However, precautions are important when using fireworks, as their use causes more than 50,000 fires each year. Below is some information for fireworks safety.

According to Health and Safety Codes §§ 12505 and 12529, California divides fireworks into two categories: ‘dangerous fireworks’ and ‘safe and sane’ fireworks. Some common fireworks that fall under the category of dangerous fireworks are: firecrackers, skyrockets and rockets, sparklers more than 10 inches in length or one-fourth of one inch in diameter, torpedoes of all kinds which explode on impact, chasers and roman candles.[1] Safe and sane fireworks are defined as any fireworks that don’t fall under the dangerous fireworks or exempt fireworks categories.

In California, it is illegal to possess dangerous fireworks without a valid permit.[2] Furthermore, anyone who sells or delivers dangerous fireworks to someone under 18 years of age is subject to a fine of between $500-$1000 and/or imprisonment in county jail for up to one year.[3] Safe and sane fireworks may be purchased and used by the general public, subject to state and local regulations. A good way to find out what restrictions are placed on safe and sane fireworks in your area is to contact your local fire department.

Here are some additional tips:

  • A responsible adult SHOULD supervise all firework activities.  Never give fireworks to children.
  • Alcohol and fireworks do not mix.  Save your alcohol for after the show.
  • Wear safety glasses when shooting fireworks.
  • Light one firework at a time and then quickly move away.
  • Use fireworks OUTDOORS in a clear area; away from buildings and vehicles.
  • Never relight a “dud” firework.  Wait 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water.
  • Always have a bucket of water and charged water hose nearby.
  • Never carry fireworks in your POCKET or shoot them into METAL or GLASS containers.
  • Do not experiment with homemade fireworks.
  • Dispose of spent fireworks by wetting them down and place in a metal trash can away from any building or combustible materials until the next day..

Report illegal explosives, like M-80s and quarter sticks, to the fire or police department

[1] Refer to Cal. Health & Safety Code § 12505 for the full list.

[2] Cal. Health & Safety Code § 12677

[3] Cal. Health & Safety Code § 12700

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