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City of Riverside to Increase Enforcement of Ban on Fireworks

City encourages residents to instead enjoy fireworks at Mount Rubidoux and La Sierra Park

RIVERSIDE, Ca. – Riverside has beefed up laws banning the use of fireworks and will step up enforcement this July 4th season, with the Police and Fire Departments issuing $1,000 citations.

All fireworks are illegal in the City of Riverside, which is increasing enforcement to reduce the possibility of illegal fireworks sparking fires. The fire risk is especially high this year because heavy rains last winter that spurred the growth of vegetation that since has dried up and turned into fire fuel.

Illegal fireworks can cause serious injuries, and also create traffic and noise impacts in neighborhoods, scare pets and other animals, and create a stressful environment for military veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder.

“Illegal fireworks greatly increase the risk of fire in our city, which in turn increases the danger for our firefighters who have to fight these blazes,” Mayor Rusty Bailey said. “For a lot of reasons, including the havoc we see in some of our neighborhoods, Riverside is strongly urging residents to stay away from illegal fireworks.”

The City is encouraging residents to enjoy free fireworks shows at Mount Rubidoux in downtown Riverside and at La Sierra Park, at 5215 La Sierra Avenue. The shows begin at 9 p.m. and are synched to a radio broadcast on KOLA 99.9.

The city’s Parks, Recreation and Community Services Department recently committed to funding the fireworks shows through its existing budget to ensure the shows will continue. The city had been seeking donations for the shows after funding was cut last year as a result of 4 percent cuts in each city department’s budget.

“I’m encouraged to know that the funding of the fireworks no longer is in question,” Mayor Pro Tem Mike Gardner said. “That ensures that residents can plan with confidence to attend the shows at Mount Rubidoux and La Sierra Park, which should help reduce the usage of illegal fireworks.”

In addition to reducing the fire risk, the fireworks ban also is designed to prevent fireworks-related injuries, which can be significant.

Injuries from fireworks across the U.S. sent 230 people per day to the emergency room between June 20 and July 20 in 2014, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Nine people died from fireworks incidents during that period, including two people who were not using the fireworks themselves.

More than 50 percent of the injuries were burns, and 36 percent of those injuries were to the hands, followed by 19 percent to the eyes and 19 percent to the head, face and ears. Nearly 40 percent of those injuries were caused by using the most common fireworks – sparklers and firecrackers. Nearly half of the people injured were ages 19 or younger.

The Riverside Fire Department has sought increase awareness of the ban on fireworks by sending fliers home from school with students, distributing fliers at community events, and by including anti-fireworks messages in utility bills.

Mayor Bailey, City Councilmember Jim Perry, Police Chief Sergio Diaz and Fire Chief Michael Moore discussed the ban on illegal fireworks and the higher level of enforcement on a recent taping of “Riverside Monthly.” That show can be found here:

A public service announcement that can be shared on social media can be found here:

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