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NEWS RELEASE: Fireworks ‘Just Not Worth It’ – San Jose Residents Can Report Violators Online

The City of San José and Santa Clara County Fire Department remind residents to celebrate safely during the Fourth of July holiday

Post Date:06/25/2020 1:00 PM

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT:
Erica Ray, Public Information Manager, San José Fire Department
408-398-9228; sjfdpio@sanjoseca.gov

Luisa Rapport, Information Specialist, Santa Clara County Fire Department
408-335-9485

SAN JOSE, Calif. (June 25, 2020) – In time for the Fourth of July holiday, the City of San José and Santa Clara County Fire Department have partnered to remind residents that fireworks are illegal, dangerous and can result in fires and injuries that are easily preventable. Residents will incur fines for using, possessing, storing, or selling illegal fireworks. Santa Clara County’s ‘social host’ Fireworks Ordinance holds property owners responsible for illegal use of fireworks on their property.

“San José experienced several fireworks-related fires during this time last year,” said Robert Sapien Jr., San José Fire Chief. “We’re asking for our community’s compliance and encouraging residents to use our online reporting tool, which will assist the City with taking enforcement actions.”

The public outreach and education campaign began June 15 in the San José area and features billboard and bus advertisements, as well as a digital advertising push to encourage online reporting of violators of the City ordinance. The County will run its own version of the campaign on social media to educate residents county-wide that when it comes to fireworks, “[It’s] Not Worth It” and can result in dangerous fires and serious injuries.

“All fireworks are illegal in Santa Clara County,” said Santa Clara County Fire Chief Tony Bowden. “It is imperative that residents understand the risk of fire at a time of the year when the weather is hot and grasses and woodlands surrounding our communities are very dry. We know that one spark can have disastrous consequences.”

National Fire Protection Association reports that fireworks start an average of 19,500 fires per year, 59% of which were reported as brush, grass or forest fires. These fires caused an average of five deaths, 46 civilian injuries, and an average of $105 million in direct property damage.

“There does appear to be an increase in illegal fireworks activity this year,” said San José Fire Deputy Chief Hector Estrada. “This is not limited to San José. We are hearing of increases throughout the Bay Area and across the nation.”

This year, the Fourth of July holiday also comes at a unique time when county-wide measures remain in place to protect our residents and responders from COVID-19. Residents are encouraged to follow current Public Health orders and recommendations, find safe alternatives and household activities and ensure that your Fourth of July celebrations do not include the use of fireworks. If there is an active fire or medical emergency, residents should call 9-1-1.

The City of San José continues to strengthen the way citations will be issued for illegal fireworks use. San José residents can now “Snap, Click, and Report” violators online:

  1. SNAP: Safely take a photo or video of the person participating in the illegal activity.
  2. CLICK: Visit https://www.sanjoseca.gov/fireworks.
  3. REPORT: Fill out the online form with complete and accurate information regarding the illegal firework activity. Residents can upload up to five separate photos or videos as evidence of illegal activity.

San José Residents may also report fireworks via a 24-hour hotline at (408) 535-5600 or by calling 311. The online reporting tool is available year-round.

All reports will be reviewed and upon determination that sufficient evidence has been provided for both the violation and the violator, the City’s Code Enforcement Division will issue a citation. Online reports filed in 2019 resulted in 2 arrests, 1 field citation and 7 online citations.

Sale, Use, Possession and Storage of Fireworks Violation Fines:

  • $500 for a first violation
  • $700 for a second violation (within 18 months of the previous violation)
  • $1,000 for a third violation (within 18 months of the previous violation)
  • The sale of fireworks may result in a fine of up to $50,000 plus jail time, depending on quantity.

About the City of San José
With more than one million residents, San José is one of the most diverse large cities in the United States and is Northern California’s largest city and the 10th largest city in the nation. San José’s transformation into a global innovation center has resulted in one of the largest concentrations of technology companies and expertise in the world. In 2011, the City adopted Envision San José 2040, a long-term growth plan that sets forth a vision and a comprehensive road map to guide the City’s anticipated growth through the year 2040.

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