Editor, Manteca Bulletin,
Fireworks are an American tradition. Our ancestors celebrated the first anniversary of our nation with fireworks, parades, and feasts. Two-hundred and thirty eight years later, this Fourth of July will be no different. It’s a time to gather with our friends and families and celebrate the founding of our great nation.
Fireworks can be dangerous, this is a fact. When used improperly, or illegally, fireworks can burn, maim and kill. You bake a cake at 350 degrees, glass melts at 900 degrees, and the sparkler you hand to your 5-year-old burns at 1,200 degrees. Fireworks are not meant to be handled by children, yet kids under the age of 10 are the second most likely group to be hospitalized due to fireworks injuries (behind those ages 15-24). Nationwide on average, 200 people show up at emergency rooms with fireworks related injuries between June 17 and July 17. Be careful, be vigilant and use some common sense.
California law bans possession, use, or sale of any fireworks that fly, explode, travel more than one foot into the air, or more than six feet on the ground. These fireworks are illegal. Fireworks not purchased from an approved vendor in California are most likely illegal. One challenge we face is that many of the fireworks that are illegal in California are readily available in other states.
Why are most fireworks illegal in California? Illegal fireworks cause:
• Countless injuries including trauma and burns from unplanned explosions
• Enormous property loss each year by causing fires to residences, landscape, and wildland
• Emotional trauma and anxiety to many small children and animals
• Environmental pollution, measureable in both air and noise
It is our opinion that as people become more aware of the physical, emotional, environmental, and economic costs, it will become increasingly clear that illegal fireworks are not a ‘patriotic’ act.
This Fourth of July, we are launching a campaign to educate area residents about the problems illegal fireworks cause. The City of Manteca Fire and Police Departments will be patrolling to enforce the law by confiscating illegal fireworks and issuing citations to offenders. The cost of citations for using or possessing illegal fireworks has increased so violators now face fines up to $1,000 and can be held liable for any damages they’ve caused.
How can you help?
• Be a good neighbor; keep your neighborhood safe and pleasant by not bringing illegal fireworks to Manteca.
• Educate those you know about the law (and the dangers) before they buy illegal fireworks.
• If someone you know has illegal fireworks let them know they can turn them in at any Manteca Fire station or the Manteca Police headquarters, without penalty.
• Report illegal fireworks activity (without fire or injury) through the City’s non-emergency number, (209.-456.8101).
• Visit the professional display at Big League Dreams instead.
We appreciate your support in making the 4th of July safe and enjoyable for all.
Kirk Waters and
Fire and Police Chiefs
City of Manteca