PRESS RELEASE

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

12/22/2021
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEPress Release # 122221-2
Subject:
City Offers Tips to Safely Enjoy the Holidays
Contact:
Office of Public Affairs and Communications
562.570.6397
LongBeachMedia@longbeach.gov





Long Beach, CA – The winter holidays are a time of joyous celebrations, beloved traditions, and long-awaited gatherings with family and friends. As the Christmas and New Year’s holidays quickly approach, the City of Long Beach is offering the following tips to ensure everyone has a safe and enjoyable holiday season.

COVID-19 Precautions
The holidays are typically spent in close, indoor gatherings, including visits with different generations. To ensure everyone remains healthy, the City’s Department of Health and Human Services (Health Department) urges everyone to become vaccinated and get their boosters if eligible, and encourages the community to celebrate the holidays in ways that help reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission:

  • Celebrate Outdoors. Activities that take place outdoors are safer than indoor activities with regards to spreading viruses and germs. Try to avoid crowded, poorly ventilated spaces.
  • Mask Up. One way to reduce the risk of COVID-19 is for adults and children over the age of 2 to wear either a cloth or surgical mask. This is especially important in indoor settings or crowded outdoor settings.
  • Get Vaccinated and Boosted. Everyone who is eligible should get vaccinated against COVID-19 as the single best way to protect yourself and those around you against the deadly virus. For more information and to register for the free shots at local clinics, go to the VaxLB website or MyTurn.ca.gov.
  • Get Tested. People entering or re-entering California should get a COVID-19 test three to five days upon arrival, regardless of vaccination status. It also is a good idea to test before gathering with people outside of your household.
  • Feeling Sick? Stay Home. If you are sick, are awaiting the results of a COVID-19 test, or you have been in contact with someone who is sick with COVID-19 or has symptoms of COVID-19, rest at home.
  • Wash Hands. Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially before coming into contact with high-touch surfaces like serving utensils.

The Center for Disease Control also provides recommendations for a healthy holiday, including domestic and international travel tips.

Fire Safety
More than one-third of home decoration fires are started by candles and more than two of every five decoration fires happen because decorations are placed too close to a heat source. To prevent these holiday hazards, follow the below tips to ensure a safe, fire-free holiday:

  • Place Christmas trees at least three feet away from any heat source, like fireplaces, radiators, candles, heat vents or lights, and add water to the tree stand daily to prevent drying out.
  • Replace any light strings that have worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections, and use clips, not nails, to hang lights so the cords do not get damaged. Do not exceed the manufacturer’s instructions for number of light strands to connect.
  • Always turn off all light strings and Christmas tree lights before leaving home or going to bed.
  • Choose decorations that are flame resistant or flame retardant.
  • Never use lit candles to decorate a tree. Candles should be kept away from decorations and other things that can burn, as well as from children and pets, and matches and lighters should be stored up high in a locked cabinet.
  • Test your smoke alarms before guests arrive and tell guests about your home fire escape plan.

Driving and Pedestrian Safety
The City encourages everyone to remain safe while on the road and out and about this holiday season and urges drivers, pedestrians and all commuters to practice safe, responsible behavior.

Distracted driving, identified as anything that takes one’s eyes off the road or hands off the steering wheel, poses a serious threat to people’s safety and should always be avoided. Pedestrians and bicyclists should also maintain strict awareness of their surroundings, especially at night and when crossing streets, even when crossing in a marked crosswalk.

In Long Beach, DUI-related traffic collisions claimed the lives of nine people in 2019 and 14 people in 2020. The Long Beach Police Department (LBPD) will have additional officers on patrol through the end of the holiday season to deter drivers from driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. Alcohol is not the only substance that can impair driving and possibly lead to a DUI. Prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications and marijuana may also affect one’s ability to drive safely. Drivers charged with DUI face an average of $13,500 in fines and penalties and a suspended license. It is essential for everyone’s safety to plan ahead, designate a sober driver, or simply stay at home for the night.

Preventing Package Thefts
The LBPD is providing the following tips to help keep your holiday packages safe:

  • To help prevent possible theft from your porch and/or burglaries, have packages delivered to a store, facility, or a trusted neighbor and/or schedule package deliveries for when someone will be home.
  • Some delivery services may also allow you to provide special instructions – when able, ask for your delivery to be placed in a hidden area, such as on the side of your home or behind plants or other objects.
  • When able, immediately bring in packages as soon as they arrive. Additionally, if possible, install exterior motion sensor lighting and home security cameras at your residence.
  • Reminder that if you “See Something, Say Something.” Report suspicious activity by calling the non-emergency dispatch line at 562.435.6711 or 9-1-1 for emergencies. For additional safety tips, please visit https://bit.ly/LBPDSafety

Fireworks and Other Illegal Activity
Not only are all personal fireworks, including those labeled “Safe and Sane,” prohibited in Long Beach, but they are also a hazard for people and nearby structures and can result in serious fines.

Amateur fireworks, including sparklers, cause tens of millions of dollars annually in property damage and result in many injuries, the majority of which are suffered by children. Fireworks also pose a serious health risk for veterans, people experiencing post-traumatic stress and pets. Fireworks set off in residential neighborhoods, especially those that are loud and unexpected, can trigger flashbacks for veterans and gun violence survivors experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder. The noise also creates panic for many animals, and shelters fill with runaway pets every year.

The City’s enhanced fireworks ordinance, passed earlier this year by the Long Beach City Council, increases the scope of liability and associated penalties, ranging upwards of $20,000 in fines. In order to deter illegal firework activity, the City will provide ongoing enforcement of illegal firework activity in the weeks and days leading up to and including the Christmas and New Year’s holiday weekends. Anyone cited or arrested for fireworks violations may be faced with a $1,000 fine, sentenced to jail for six months, or both.

Reporting illegal firework activity by community members can contribute to the City’s enforcement efforts, and there are a few ways to report illegal firework usage and sales:

  • Submit a fireworks complaint to the Long Beach City Prosecutor’s Office through the Go Long Beach app, which allows users to upload images, geotag and write in additional details. Go Long Beach can be downloaded from the City’s App webpage for both Android and Apple devices.
  • Call the non-emergency number at the Communications Center at 562.435.6711 to report fireworks usage and/or sales. For emergencies, always dial 9-1-1.
  • Email the patrol division where the firework activity is occurring and provide addresses, videos, license plates, photos and any other information that can be investigated. Please include your name, address and phone number so that you can be contacted if necessary:

“Celebratory” gunfire is considered an illegal discharge of a firearm and is very dangerous. Discharging a firearm for celebratory purposes could result in injury or death to anyone struck, and jail time for the offenders.

Celebrating safely can help achieve a safe Long Beach for all.

Media inquiries may be directed to the Office of Public Affairs and Communications at 562.570.6397 or LongBeachMedia@longbeach.gov