Fireworks safety campaign to inform residents of the potential consequences of illegal fireworks

Mayor Laurene West hosts a Fireworks Safety press conference at Los Angeles County Fire Station 126. Cory Rubin/The Signal

With the SCV’s skyline set to light up with fireworks to celebrate America’s independence, local first responders gathered Friday outside a fire station to warn residents about why they shouldn’t try that at home.  

The Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station and the Los Angeles County Fire Department joined the city of Santa Clarita on Friday in a fireworks safety press conference and demonstration to remind residents preparing to celebrate the Fourth of July that fireworks are both dangerous and illegal in the Santa Clarita Valley.

The use, possession or selling of fireworks in Santa Clarita may result in a fine of up to $1,000, and a penalty of up to one year in county jail. Even fireworks labeled “Safe and Sane,” such as sparklers, smoke balls, fountains and snakes are considered illegal.

“There were 40 reported fireworks-related injuries in 2017,” said Los Angeles County Fire Department Fire Chief, Daryl Osby, “Safe and Sane fireworks burn at 2,000 degrees, so you can imagine the impact if that touches you.”

Inspector David Michel of the Los Angeles County Fire Department urged against the personal use of fireworks — the unauthorized usage of “firecrackers,” even seemingly  innocuous “sparklers,” has been illegal throughout Los Angeles County for decades, due to the extreme fire risk, among other dangers. “We recommend people to go see a professional firework show instead of trying to set up the fireworks themselves. That’s always the safest option and doesn’t put anyone in danger,” Michel said.

An estimated 11,100 injuries were treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments in 2016. Sparklers were the most common type of firework causing injuries to preschoolers and 400 of the 900 sparkler injuries were related to children under the age of 5, according to NFPA data.

Besides causing physical harm to citizens, fireworks are known to cause brush and structure fires. In fact, fireworks account for nearly half of all reported U.S. fires, more than any other cause of fire, during Independence Day, according to the National Fire Protection Association.

Los Angeles County experienced “over $1.3 million in losses last year due to structural fires caused by fireworks,” said Osby. “Right now, we’re in very high fire danger in this region.”

Use of illegal fireworks can also affect veterans, individuals with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and animals.

“Fireworks cause great anxiety and stress for veterans and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder victims,” said Santa Clarita Mayor Laurene Weste. “The same anxiety and stress is also felt by your pets and can terrify them and cause them to run away.”

To avoid any fireworks-related anxiety, fines, injuries or fires, the city of Santa Clarita encourages residents to attend any of the Fourth of July fireworks shows in Santa Clarita that are put on by professionals, including shows at the WestField Valencia Town Center, Richard Rioux Park in Stevenson Ranch and Six Flags Magic Mountain.

The city of Santa Clarita issued an FAQ page on its website about fireworks rules and laws. The bottom line is, fireworks are illegal in the city of Santa Clarita, but if anyone has any lingering questions, they can check out the FAQ page.

Illegal fireworks may be reported by calling the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s station at (661) 255-1121.

Danielle Kohrzanyak contributed to this report. 

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