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Don't take chances with illegal fireworks this year

Original post made by Emily West, editor of Danville Express, on Jun 29, 2010

Driving around Dublin, it's hard to miss the mini stores set in various parking lots with bright signs seeming to explode like the merchandise they sell: fireworks. Going along San Ramon Valley Boulevard, I passed one of these stores and seconds later I entered into San Ramon. There I was welcomed welcomed with a warning: Fireworks are illegal in Contra Costa County.

With San Ramon Valley Fire Protection District crews putting out two house fires in Danville last week, not to mention seeing photos of recent training in Camp Parks, it seems that these warnings are especially important.

Fire Marshall Christina Jamison of the SRVFPD said anyone found in possession of fireworks could be fined up to $1,000. Even if they were purchased legally, driving through San Ramon with the freshly purchased loot in tow is against the law.

She went on to say that there will be special patrols during the Fourth of July festivities and often respond to phone calls from residents who notice the illegal activity.

"We try to educate the public as far as the hazards and risks associated with using fireworks and allowing your children to use fireworks," she said. "It's a continuous education with the community, particularly when we have adjacent areas on our border that are selling fireworks."

Last year, she recalls confiscating a "considerable amount" of fireworks, as many police and fire agencies throughout the Bay Area often do. In past experiences reporting on the topic, some agencies will display confiscated items, which include everything from small firecrackers to colorful, coconut-sized fireworks.

While the explosives are intended for fun, oftentimes they result in serious injuries. An interesting statistic Jamison notes comes from the U.S. Fire Administration: 92 percent of the fireworks injuries treated in hospital emergency rooms involved fireworks that Federal regulations permit consumers to use.

In addition to potential injuries, there's also a major threat of structure and wild land fires, she added. Other statistics show that in 2008, there was $34 million in property loss nationwide as a result of fireworks.

When weighing the potential risks, it seems the better option would be to view public fireworks displays instead, as the SRVFPD encourages residents to do. Plus, these professional productions put the backyard stuff to shame.

Comments (9)

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Posted by Duffy
a resident of Danville
on Jun 30, 2010 at 9:18 am

I have no desire to have my house burned to the ground by somew non-thinking idiot celebrating his version of liberty and independence. Discharging any sort of explosive(and yes, fireworks are explosives) without as permit should be a felony and those who permit the sale(i.e. Dublin) should be held equally culpable!

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Posted by Dan
a resident of San Ramon
on Jun 30, 2010 at 9:44 pm

I'm with Duffy. These service groups purport to raise money for the community while putting the community at great risk to do so. What sense does that make? If a child losses an eye or is scarred for life the seller and the City of Dublin should be held TOTALLY RESPONSIBLE. The action of the service groups (and the City) is totally and completely irresponsible in modern society ("but it's easy money" they whine). True if you don't consider the real costs - costs that you haven't had to pay until now I hope. You want to sell fireworks - then you pay for the consequences. The signs at the borders don't go far enough - police checkpoints are the answer Chief Holder and Chief Price. Teach fire safety all year long in the schools and then on the 4th give kids 1000 degree sparklers to hold up to their eyes and faces? What message does that send? The ER's should keep track of where the fireworks where purchased and from whom. Better cross your fingers nothing burns down irresponsible service groups. All fun and games they say until someone losses an eye...

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Posted by Not Safe, and Insane
a resident of Charlotte Wood Middle School
on Jun 30, 2010 at 10:19 pm

Please do not give these hypocritical service groups your money - for fireworks or any other purpose. If they want to risk the health of our children for the almighty dollar we can give our money to others who truly care about our community.

Rotary Club of Dublin (the gang leader, the worst example of all)
Dublin Partner in Education (fireworks, our fundraising partner. Everything else is just too much work. Hey, this is easy!)
Doctors Giving Back (apparently not a group of emergency room or pediatric docs)
Briarhill Swim Team & Cabana (you need eyesite to swim, right?)
Dublin Elementary PFC ("it's for the kids")
Dublin Gaels Booster Club (stick to bake sales, our kids need their fingers)
Dublin Historical Preservation Society (yes, please preserve our homes)
Dublin Irish Guard Band Boosters (fireworks and alcohol don't mix)
Knights of Columbus, Council 7987 (beneath your club to raise money this way)
St. Raymond School ("the kids..." fill in the rest)
Valley Christian Center (stick to the Sunday collection)
GFWC Dublin San Ramon Womens Club (a San Ramon Club - shame on you!)
Crosswinds Church (so sad and so wrong on so many levels)

Great show in San Ramon at 930PM! Don't give these sorry examples a penny of your money - ever!

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Posted by Embarrassed Member
a resident of another community
on Jul 1, 2010 at 6:50 am

Dublin wants to think of itself as a big city but by allowing firework sales it shows it is just a Podunk backwater town.

Just search the web for "NFPA Fireworks"

* Three-year-old Michael Shannon of Raleigh, NC, was killed by a consumer firework at a family July 4th celebration. Michael was killed when a legal consumer firework tipped over and struck him in the head while he stood between his father’s legs more than 40 feet away. "There is no safe way to use consumer fireworks," says Michael's mother.

* Six-year-old Maddi de la Cruz of Chicago was burned by a sparkler that ignited her shoe. In a matter of seconds, the sparkler created second-and third-degree burns on Maddi’s foot. Her mother, Michelle Maloney, said Maddi was injured during a Fourth of July celebration attended by children and eight adults. The young girl underwent skin graft surgery to help her regain her ability to walk.

I’m a member of one of these service groups I and refuse to work the booth. I think the property owners that rent the space for the booth should be held responsible too. They are an integral part of the blood money.

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Posted by samiam
a resident of Danville
on Jul 1, 2010 at 7:39 am

I get that you don't like the use of "safe and sane" fireworks, but don't you think that you are raving a bit when you accuse service organizations and a city of felony conduct for selling a legal product? We do expect adults to behave that way. Should we hold the sellers of alcohol to the same standards? I am certain that more people are maimed and killed as a direct result of the imbibing of wine, beer, etc then they are with fireworks. How many people are hurt at professional fireworks shows, given the huge crowds, many of whom do not know how to behave in public? It is fine to say you don't like fireworks, the hysteria is a bit much. We do not need to do the "hive mind" action over every thing. Cars, bicycles, swimming pools, life is dangerous also.

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Posted by Dan
a resident of San Ramon
on Jul 1, 2010 at 6:08 pm

Samiam - I hope the sales in your booth are poor this year and your club is forced to find a more community-minded way to raise money to, um, serve the community. Maybe you could raise money for burn camp for the children maimed by the fireworks you sold their family this year? Darwin would expect that we become aware of danger around us and taken intelligent action to survive. But you are not intelligent. Like you say, life is dangerous, what can we do?

Remember that your legal fireworks quickly become illegal as soon as you drive a foot outside of Dublin. Cigarettes and alcohol don’t (hey maybe you could sell those to in your booth too). If you would sell fireworks to raise money there is little you wouldn’t sell to make a buck. I know your type and I've heard your lame paper tiger arguments many times.

Here is a good video about how safe your fireworks are www(dot)youtube(dot)com/watch?v=9qOh7m31doE

Emily – make sure to do a follow-up article on all injuries and fires. Expose this irresponsible Council and these reckless service groups. And talk to the fire chief of Dublin. Is he/she hiding under a blanket somewhere?

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Posted by Kathy
a resident of another community
on Jul 1, 2010 at 7:56 pm

Sam I Am, here are a few others that don't agree with you. Dan and the concerned citizens above seem to be in good company. Time to get real. Your Dr. Suess name appears quite fitting.

The American Academy of Pediatrics founded the Alliance to Stop Consumer Fireworks to warn individuals about the dangers of consumer fireworks. Other members include:

American Academy of Family Physicians
American Association for Hand Surgery
American Academy of Ophthalmology
American Association of Public Health Physicians
American Burn Association
American College of Emergency Physicians
American Society of Plastic Surgeons
American Society for Reconstructive Microsurgery
American Society for Surgery of the Hand
Center for Injury Research & Policy
Emergency Nurses Association
Fire Department Safety Officers Association
International Association of Arson Investigators
International Association of Fire Chiefs
International Association of Fire Fighters
International Fire Marshals Association
Metropolitan Fire Chiefs
National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners
National Association of State Fire Marshals
National Association of School Nurses
National Volunteer Fire Council
Prevent Blindness America

Like this comment
Posted by Ralph
a resident of San Ramon
on Jul 3, 2010 at 7:13 am

7/3/10: Sparkler caused 3-alarm apartment fire in San Jose

Web Link

Maybe not so safe! Thank you City of San Ramon for resisting pressure from service groups that choose money and agenda over community interest.

Like this comment
Posted by Piper
a resident of San Ramon
on Jul 3, 2010 at 11:28 am

Emily - please find out where and from what group these sparklers were purchased. Gilroy or Dublin? Let's hold them accountable for this loss. Also, see what the insurance company for the apartment has to say about the source of the cause. Are they planning to subrogate the claim back to the seller or responsible city? Why should the insurance company have to pay for the negligence and irresponsibility of others?

A $500,000 loss (for what, so some service group can build a website)! One fire wiped out the combined of profit of every service group in the community. Does that make sense to anyone? Please stop this idiotic practice. Thank god nobody died in this fire. Time to pay the piper.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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