‘Safe-and-sane’ fireworks illegal in some cities, OK in others
The cities of Los Angeles, Pasadena and Long Beach, and the unincorporated communities of L.A. County, for example, ban fireworks. Officials urged residents to attend professional displays and warned that even the "safe-and-sane" variety can be harmful.
"Even sparklers, which most people consider safe, can reach temperatures of 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit, burn people seriously and cause fires," Pasadena Fire Chief Dennis J. Downs said in a statement. "Adults wouldn't ordinarily allow children to get near anything that hot, but for some reason they think it's acceptable to put sparklers in the hands of children on the Fourth of July."
Nearly all fireworks in California are sold by volunteers raising money for nonprofit groups, according to a 2005 Times story. The groups' reliance on fireworks sales explains why the devices continue to be sold in scores of cities across Southern California despite decades of warnings by firefighters and federal safety officials that they pose a risk to children and a major fire danger. Communities where fireworks are banned have seen a reduction in injuries and fires.
According to fire officials, any firework that explodes, rises in the air or moves above the ground is prohibited by the State Fire Marshal. Those labeled "safe and sane" are available for sale in certain cities. In Alhambra, for example, anyone over 16 can purchase them, but they must light them on their own property.
Gardena, which also permits "safe and sane" fireworks, says the devices can only be used between 12 p.m. and 10 p.m. Tuesday and between 9 a.m. and 10 p.m. from Wednesday through July 4.
Officials advised that residents check with their local government to determine what their fireworks policies are.
-- Rong-Gong Lin II at the Los Angeles County Hall of Administration
Photo: A fireworks stand in Castaic, Calif. Credit: Spencer Weiner / Los Angeles Times