Burbank Fire Department Reminds Locals to Practice Fireworks Safety for the Fourth of July Weekend

(Photo by © Ross A Benson)

The Burbank Fire Department is reminding locals to uphold safety measures this Fourth of July weekend through their monitoring of the illegal use of fireworks throughout the City.

As the City of Burbank resumes their annual fireworks show from the Starlight Bowl this year, fire engines from the department’s six fire stations will be patrolling the City throughout the weekend. The BFD will alert the Burbank Police Department in turning over any unused fireworks found. Additionally, the Burbank Fire Corps, which consists of a group of volunteers, will patrol the City to further keep an eye on fireworks violations. 

The BFD consistently educates the public on fireworks safety, and on Monday, June 28, released a video with the BPD explaining the importance of this subject. The video emphasized that fireworks can quickly cause fires and injuries, and the use of illegal fireworks can warrant a citation or arrest from the BPD. Messages like these reiterate to locals that all fireworks, even those purchased in other cities, or those bearing “Safe & Sane” labels, are dangerous and illegal in the City of Burbank.

Confiscated Fireworks from Burbank residents. (Photo by © Ross A Benson)

“Part of the misconception is that ‘Safe & Sane’ fireworks are ‘Safe & Sane’,” Burbank Fire Department Battalion Chief Mark Hatch said. “They pose their own threat and dangers, even if used properly.”

Mishandling of fireworks can cause a great deal of damage to people and their surroundings. This was recently seen with 17 people being injured from a large explosion which took place on Wednesday, June 30, in South Los Angeles as police were disposing of over 5,000 pounds of illegal fireworks. In March, another explosion caused by a large collection of illegal fireworks in Ontario, CA, killed two men and caused numerous fires at nearby structures. 

The Burbank Fire Department will be amping up staffing for the City’s fireworks show this year with an additional engine and patrol unit that will keep a watchful eye out for potential hot spots in the area which may detect illegal fireworks. Furthermore, helicopters are also utilized by the BFD to monitor hot spots on the hill. Modern technological advancements are another key factor in keeping residents safe during this summer holiday. 

“The use of technology now has created all kinds of opportunities for visualizing the use of fireworks in the areas throughout the City,” Hatch said. “There are security cameras throughout the intersections, there’s security cameras in businesses, apartment buildings, even down to the ringing doorbell they have on houses now.”

Captain Jim Moye is highly involved in fireworks enforcement and confiscation for the City and heads the department’s arson investigations. He says that oftentimes illegal fireworks “are bought [throughout] Southern California and transported” into Burbank. Once they are seized, confiscated illegal fireworks are then categorized by the department and disposed of through the State Fire Marshal’s office. One reason why these fireworks can be so dangerous is the purchaser’s lack of knowledge on the proper handling of the fireworks materials. 

(Photo by © Ross A Benson)

“It might be looking like a fun show, but you never know the dangers that some of those fireworks pose,” Moye said. “[Depending on] where they came from, [and] how they were constructed, there’s a danger that some of them pose.”

Facts from the BFD website show that more than 19,500 fires are started by fireworks every year. In addition, sparklers can pose an extreme safety hazard as they burn at 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit, and 44% of the 9,100 emergency room injuries around July 4 emerge from fireworks burns. Some alternatives listed on the site include using glow sticks, noise makers, and red, white, and blue silly string for fun and safe celebrations.

The BFD emphasizes remaining cautious in all July 4 activities, including leaving fireworks to the professionals and making sure young children are chaperoned diligently during their summer festivities.

“While you’re out there having fun [and] watching the show, don’t forget about your swimming pool,” Hatch said. “Don’t forget to make sure the kiddos are safe and someone’s watching [them].”