PRESS RELEASE

City of Long Beach 
Public Information Office
333 W. Ocean Blvd, 
Long Beach, CA 90802

7/6/2017
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEPress Release # CM:070617B
Subject:
Independence Day Fireworks Enforcement Nets 7,000 Pounds of Illegal Fireworks
Contact:
Kerry Gerot
Public Affairs Officer
City Manager’s Office
562.570.6811
Kerry.Gerot@longbeach.gov




The City of Long Beach Police Department seized approximately 7,000 pounds of fireworks citywide during enforcement efforts for the Independence Day holiday representing a 1,300% increase over 2016, in which approximately 500 pounds were seized.

Historically, July 4 is the busiest day of the year for the Long Beach Fire (LBFD) and Police Departments (LBPD). During the months leading up to the Holiday, the LBFD and LBPD proactively educated the public with a campaign that all fireworks, including those marked "Safe and Sane" are dangerous and illegal in the City.

“Residents’ safety is our priority,” said City Manager Patrick H. West. “I am proud to say that there were no major injuries that took place this past holiday.”

The City’s primary public safety mission on Independence Day is to ensure a safe holiday for the hundreds of thousands of people visiting and celebrating in our city. It is the busiest day of the year, and all available public safety personnel are on duty. Thousands of people flock to the City’s beaches and parks, and ensuring a safe environment in which to celebrate is of the utmost importance.

“The use of illegal fireworks continues to be a problem, not only in Long Beach, but in the region, and we need our entire community to come together to help,” said Fire Chief Mike DuRee. “While, thankfully, we had a safe holiday, we implore all Long Beach residents to help our public safety personnel keep Long Beach safe by attending a professional fireworks show and teaching our friends and family about the dangers of illegal fireworks.”

To help educate everyone as to the dangers of illegal fireworks, the City stepped up its public information campaign this year. Public outreach efforts included: public service announcements; press releases; the distribution of educational materials in English, Spanish, Khmer, and Tagalog; posts on the City’s various social media platforms; advertisements on the City's website, electronic billboards and signage; posting of flyers, banners and posters in highly-visible locations including parks, libraries and buses; and the distribution of 200 lawn signs.

Other outreach efforts included: the dissemination of educational information to Long Beach schools and the distribution of flyers to residents, businesses and neighborhood associations by Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) volunteers and lifeguards. As well, LBFD representatives spoke at community events about the illegality and dangers of fireworks, and visited 56 block parties from July 1 through July 4.

“This year’s Fourth of July holiday celebration demonstrates the amazing work and effort put forth by the City of Long Beach and the men and women of the Long Beach Police Department to keep our city safe,” said Police Chief Robert Luna. “Our focus remains on developing strategies to address community concerns, while providing the highest level of public safety.”

To address community concerns related to fireworks, new enforcement strategies were implemented by the LBPD, shifting its focus from not only the users, but the suppliers as well. Investigations conducted a week prior to the holiday resulted in several arrests and citations; several thousand pounds of illegal high-powered fireworks confiscated; as well as two loaded handguns; a variety of ammunition; a significant quantity of narcotics believed to be marijuana, cocaine, heroin and PCP; and $45,000 in U.S. currency.

From July 1 through July 4:
  • Police and Fire Departments enforcement resulted in 40 felony and misdemeanor arrests and 46 fireworks and misdemeanor citations.
  • Fire resources responded to the following fireworks related incidents: one tree fire, one trash can fire, and one minor eye injury. 
Also from July 1 through July 4 this year, on the beaches and waterways, Marine Safety personnel made four arrests, reunited 55 lost children with parents, and conducted and responded to:
  • 287 swim rescues
  • 39 boat rescues
  • 56 boat assists
  • 461 medical incidents
From July 1 through July 5, there were 1,227 fireworks related calls to the Dispatch Center, whereas last year there were 1,457 fireworks related calls.

For the 24-hour period of July 4, the Dispatch Center handled 3,169 calls (9-1-1 and the non-emergency line), and 1365 calls-for-service. In comparison, on an average day, the Dispatch Center will handle approximately 1,950 calls (both 9-1-1 and the non-emergency line), and nearly 850 calls-for-service which represents more than 60% increase on Independence Day. During the peak time between 8:30 pm and 9:15 pm, the Dispatch Center received 715 combined calls (an average of 16 calls a minute). Staffing in the Dispatch Center from 7:00 pm to 11:00 pm was augmented by 30% for the anticipated increase in call volume.

About the City of Long Beach
Home to approximately 470,000 people, the multiple award-winning and innovative City of Long Beach offers all the world-class amenities of a large metropolitan city while maintaining a strong sense of individual and diverse neighborhoods nestled together along the California coast. Long Beach is home to the Queen Mary, Aquarium of the Pacific, several museums and theaters, a highly rated school district, Long Beach Airport, the Port of Long Beach, as well as many award-winning City departments such as Health, Parks, Recreation and Marine, Development Services and more. The City also has a highly respected university and city college, two historic ranchos, five hospitals, five golf courses, 170 parks, miles of beaches, marinas, bike paths, and a Bike Share program.

For more information about the City of Long Beach, visit http://longbeach.gov/. Follow us on social to keep up with the latest news: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.