South San Francisco, CA June 22, 2023 h/t to Sheri Boles for the share from SMC
In an effort to crack down on illegal fireworks this Fourth of July, County of San Mateo officials are emphasizing the harm the booms, bangs and sparks can cause to pets, young children and entire neighborhoods.
“When you light that firework, you get a momentary pop but the damage can last a lifetime,” said Mike Callagy, the County’s chief executive officer. “Every year dogs and cats run away and never return home, children are burned and homes and entire forests go up in flames. We ask that everyone stop and think about the consequences of their actions.”
And those consequences also include a new slate of penalties for spectators, property owners and parents or guardians.
All fireworks are illegal in unincorporated San Mateo County as well as all County parks, state parks and the Crystal Springs watershed, where wildfire risks are high in spite of heavy rainfall this year.
Violations of the County’s fireworks ordinance carry fines up to $2,000, including for discharging fireworks within 500 feet of humane society or pet rescue shelters or consuming alcohol when cited for fireworks violations, among other situations.
And new this year: first-time offenders can be held liable for the County’s costs to respond to violations of the fireworks ordinance. This includes “the cost of any medical treatment for any public safety personnel injured responding to the violation, and the cost of repairing any public safety equipment or property damage incurred in responding to the violation.”
“Our safety tip is to go to professional shows to see (firework displays),” said Cecile Juliette, public information officer for San Mateo County Fire.
The Sheriff’s Office is holding its first fireworks buyback on Sunday, June 25, 2023.
Anyone can bring unused fireworks from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. to 2500 Middlefield Road, Redwood City. (Note: This is the parking lot for the County’s Human Services Agency and the Fair Oaks Library.)
Deputies will accept and dispose of fireworks, with no questions asked, and individuals will have the opportunity to receive up to $75 in cash based on weight and other factors at time of trade in.
“Our community members have shared countless stories with me about how illegal fireworks activity on and around July 4thimpacts them by threatening their sense of safety and diminishing their quality of life,” said San Mateo County Sheriff Christina Corpus. “I want to reassure those we serve that the Sheriff’s Office hears your concerns and is taking action.”
An estimated 11,500 injuries were caused by fireworks throughout the United States in 2021, and nearly three in four occurred around the Fourth of July. Children under the age of 15 accounted for nearly three in 10 of all fireworks-related injuries in 2021, the most recent year statistics are available.
The loud noise of unpermitted fireworks discharges can cause particular distress to household pets, young children, and persons suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, with July 4th fireworks reported to be one of the biggest causes of runaway pets each year.
To report illegal fireworks, call the Sheriff’s Office nonemergency number at 650-363-4911, extension 1. You can remain anonymous.
If you need to report an emergency or a crime in progress, please call 911.