Erica Ray, Public Information Manager, San José Fire Department
SAN JOSE, Calif. (June 1, 2020) - Each year, as the Independence Day holiday approaches, illegal fireworks use becomes an increasingly dangerous and disruptive activity in the City of San José. San José Fire Department urges residents to refrain from using illegal fireworks and to report illegal fireworks activity using our online reporting tool.
"We're asking our community members to help us keep San José safe this 4th of July," explains Fire Chief Robert Sapien, Jr. "They can do that by committing to not using fireworks and by reporting violators via our online form so the City can hold them accountable."
Residents who see illegal fireworks activity are urged to report it via our online reporting tool available at www.sanjoseca.gov/fireworks. This online reporting tool is available year-round.
The completeness of online reports is critical in providing the City the details necessary to enforce the law. Online reports must include an address where the fireworks are being used, contact details of the complaining party, and a description of what happened. A photograph or video of the illegal fireworks activity taking place may also help in issuing a warning or citation.
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"The City and community partnership is key," says Rachel Roberts, Deputy Director in Code Enforcement. "Complete and accurate reports from citizens are instrumental in our ability to take an enforcement action. Without their help, we would not be successful in curbing illegal firework activity."
If residents can safely take photos of fireworks being used on private property, they should be submitted with the online report and may be used by the City to issue a warning or citation. Pictures of fireworks exploding in the air do not assist us in being able to take action.
San José residents can "Snap, Click, Report" violators online.
- Snap: Safely take a photo of video of the person participating in illegal activity. Click: Visit www.sanjoseca.gov/fireworks Report:Complete the online form with detailed information regarding the illegal firework activity.The more detailed information reported, the more likely action will be taken. Reporting parties can upload up to five separate photos or videos as evidence of illegal activity.
The City also offers a 24-hour hotline (408-535-5600) to assist residents who prefer to report violators in this manner. All reports will be reviewed and if the report includes sufficient information and evidence, the City's Code Enforcement Division will issue a warning or citation. Penalties for illegal fireworks include:
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- $500 for a first violation $700 for a second violation (within 18-month period from date of previous violation) $1,000 for a third violation (within 18-month period from date of previous violation) The sale of fireworks may result in a fine up to $50,000 plus jail time, depending on quantity.
Due to the COVID-19 health crisis in our community, there will be no professional fireworks displays permitted in the City of San Jose.
The National Fire Protection Association reports that fireworks start an average of 18,500 fires per year, including 1,300 structure fires, 300 vehicle fires, and 16,900 outside and other fires. These fires caused an average of three deaths, 40 civilian injuries, and an average of $43 million in direct property damage.
In 2017, U.S. hospital emergency rooms treated an estimated 12,900 people for fireworks related injuries; 54% of those injuries were to the extremities and 36% were to the head. Children younger than 15 years of age accounted for more than one-third (36%) of the estimated 2017 injuries.
We hope to avoid injuries and damage caused by illegal fireworks use this 4th of July. As always, if community members observe an active fire or experience a medical emergency, they should call 9-1-1.
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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