Santa Monica Fire Department

With the closing of bars, beaches and indoor restaurants, officials are hoping locals will adapt to a quiet July 4 holiday weekend but police officers and firefighters are still warning residents to stay away from illegal activity.

Official firework shows have been canceled throughout the region and all personal fireworks are outlawed in Santa Monica.

“As the July 4th holiday approaches, the Santa Monica Fire Department would like to remind everyone that ALL types of fireworks are illegal in the City of Santa Monica. This includes so-called “safe and sane” fireworks, which may not be used in Santa Monica EVEN IF they are legal in the city in which they are purchased,” said Santa Monica Fire Marshal Eric Binder in SMFD’s annual statement. “Possession of fireworks is considered a misdemeanor and may be punishable up to $1,000.00 fine, and or 6 months in jail.”

The City of Malibu, National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the Los Angeles County Fire Department are also warning against the use of dangerous, illegal consumer fireworks to celebrate July 4th or any other event.

“While we all work to get through the COVID-19 pandemic, people understandably long for beloved annual celebrations like the festive fireworks that go with Independence Day,” said Malibu Mayor Karen Farrer. “Please celebrate Independence day safely, and do not use fireworks.”

Residents countywide have been reporting an increase in illegal fireworks for several weeks and officials said the devices are dangerous for those setting them off and those nearby.

SMFD’s warning includes sparklers, which are often considered harmless enough for children, burn as hot as 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit and can cause third-degree burns. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) about 36% of the people injured by fireworks are children ages 10-14.

Law enforcement agencies are also preparing for problem drinking over the holiday even with the recent closure of bar spaces.

The Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department said that as the holiday falls on a Saturday, there will be extra deputies on patrol throughout the Independence Day Weekend looking for drivers suspected of driving impaired.

“We are all anxious to get out and return to some sense of normalcy,” Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, Sergeant Robert Hill. “But that doesn’t excuse forgetting how to be safe on the road by driving impaired.”

LASD said that impaired driving is not just from alcohol. Some prescription medications or over-the-counter drugs may interfere with driving and warnings about ”operating heavy machinery,” includes driving a car. While medicinal and recreational marijuana are legal, driving under the influence of marijuana is illegal.

editor@smdp.com