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

Fireworks Enforcement and 4th of July in Long Beach
Diana Tang
Manager of Government Affairs
City Manager’s Office

The City of Long Beach takes seriously the job of enforcing the Long Beach Fireworks Ordinance, which bans all fireworks in Long Beach.  The Long Beach Police Department, through a firework enforcement investigation on June 20, 2018, located several thousand pounds of illegal high-powered fireworks with a street value of approximately $250,000. 

These fireworks were confiscated by the Long Beach Fire Investigations Team and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) Arson Unit Task Force for safe disposal through the State Fire Marshal’s Office.  Separately, three other investigations resulted in one arrest, one citation, and the confiscation of approximately 3,000 lbs. of fireworks, narcotics, a handgun, magazines and ammunition.  On July 4th, police enforcement resulted in 26 felony and misdemeanor arrests, and 32 fireworks and misdemeanor citations.

The City’s primary public safety mission on July 4th is to ensure a safe holiday for the hundreds of thousands of people visiting and celebrating in our city. All available public safety personnel are on duty, as thousands of people flock to the City’s beaches and parks.  This year, Long Beach Lifeguards made 122 water rescues along the oceanfront, Bayshore, Marina Park, and the Colorado Lagoon on July 4. The City’s coastline was filled with visitors from across Long Beach and around the world.  Visitors arrived in the morning, and stayed until well past dark, enjoying the fireworks display off the Queen Mary.  Lifeguards responded to emergencies ranging from life and death water rescues, to bird wellness checks.

To help educate everyone as to the dangers of illegal fireworks, the City stepped up its public information campaign by crowd sourcing to develop clever messaging for display on digital signs at the intersections of Cherry Avenue and Wardlow Road, Lakewood Boulevard and Wardlow Road, as well as Carson Street and Clark Avenue beginning July 2 through July 6.  Over 40 crowd sourced entries were submitted to the City with the winning message being “If you light it, We will write it.”  Beginning as early as May and leading into July 4, a total of 438 social media posts using the hashtag #FireworksFreeLB were made on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.  The combined reach for all posts was more than 2 million users.  In addition, outreach on Nextdoor enabled the City to reach an additional 70,000 Nextdoor users in Long Beach.

This year, to better protect our pets, the Long Beach Animal Care Services’ (ACS) deployed their inaugural “Fireworks Campaign” at the beginning of June.  ACS put forth a series of print and social artwork pieces designed to help pet owners keep and calm their pets. The campaign focused on “Owner Awareness”, “Pet Protection” and “Dog Fostering.” The “Owner Awareness” campaign spotlighted five pieces of artwork that focused on how to safeguard animals against fireworks. Printed pieces were distributed citywide to local business and store-fronts. The “Pet Protection” campaign focused on the free give-away of pet tags to owners; in total, 132 pet tags were distributed.  Each pet tag was inscribed with the pet owner’s information just in case the animal ran away so that owners and their pets could be reunited quickly. The “Foster the 4th” campaign focused on having current shelter dogs fostered for a period of three weeks. Fostering animals on July 4th helps make room for dogs brought to the shelter on July 4.  In total, 14 dogs spent their 4th of July holiday with foster families.

From July 1 through July 5, there were 979 fireworks related calls to the City’s Dispatch Center, whereas last year there were 1,227 fireworks related calls; this represents a 30 percent decrease in fireworks related calls.  For the 24-hour period of July 4, the Dispatch Center handled 3,246 calls (9-1-1 and the non-emergency line), and 1,419 calls-for-service. In comparison, on an average day, the Dispatch Center will handle approximately 2,379 calls (both 9-1-1 and the non-emergency line), and nearly 820 calls-for-service which represents more than 35 percent increase on Independence Day. During the peak time between 8:30 pm and 9:15 pm, the Dispatch Center received 408 combined calls (an average of 9 calls a minute). Staffing in the Dispatch Center from 7:00 pm to 11:00 pm was augmented by 40 percent for the anticipated increase in call volume.

About the City of Long Beach

Home to approximately 480,000 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. As a full-service charter city, 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.

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