PRESS RELEASE

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

7/10/2018
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEPress Release # CM:071018
Subject:
City of Long Beach Reviews Public Safety Efforts for the Independence Day Holiday
Contact:
Kevin Lee
Public Affairs Officer
City Manager’s Office
562.570.6811
Kevin.Lee@longbeach.gov




The City of Long Beach takes seriously public safety and the job of enforcing the Long Beach Fireworks Ordinance, which bans all fireworks in Long Beach. Historically, July 4 is the busiest day of the year for the Long Beach Fire (LBFD) and Police Departments (LBPD); all available public safety personnel are on duty.

“Our primary goal on Independence Day is to ensure public safety for the hundreds of thousands of people visiting and celebrating in Long Beach,” said City Manager Patrick H. West. “I am pleased to say that last week, with the help of our City staff and mindful community members, there were no property or structure damage, and no fireworks-related civilian injuries.”

The City utilized a two-prong approach consisting of public information campaigns as well as public safety efforts combined with enforcement. During the months leading up to the Holiday, City departments proactively educated the public with a campaign that all fireworks, including those marked "Safe and Sane," are dangerous and illegal in the city, while the Long Beach Animal Care Services (ACS) Bureau ensured the community was properly educated on how to keep their pets safe and calm in the presence of fireworks. On July 4, LBPD, LBFD, and Marine Safety personnel patrolled the city, enforced the law and conducted rescues.

“The Fire Department is focused on ensuring the message about illegal fireworks continues to get out to the public, imploring residents and visitors to think of the impact fireworks can have on others, specifically combat veterans, young children and pets, said LBFD Deputy Chief and Fire Marshal Richard Brandt. “We want everyone to enjoy the holidays, and it takes a community effort to make it happen.”

Public Information Campaigns

To educate the public on the dangers and illegality of fireworks in Long Beach, the City:  sent out public service announcements and press releases; distributed educational materials in English, Spanish, Khmer, and Tagalog; advertised on the City's website; and posted flyers, banners and posters in highly-visible locations, including parks and libraries. Other outreach efforts included: the dissemination of educational information to Long Beach schools; the distribution of flyers to residents, businesses and neighborhood associations by Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) volunteers and lifeguards; and LBFD representatives spoke at community events about the illegality and dangers of fireworks.

The City also utilized crowd sourcing to launch a social media contest for the cleverest tagline that would be displayed on the digital freeway billboards at the intersections of Cherry Avenue and Wardlow Road, Lakewood Boulevard and Wardlow Road, as well as Carson Street and Clark Avenue, from July 2 through July 6. Crowd sourced entries were submitted to the City, with the winning message being “If you light it, We will write it.”

Additionally, beginning as early as May and leading into July 4, a total of 438 awareness-raising social media posts, using the hashtag #FireworksFreeLB, were created on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. The combined reach for all posts was more than two million users.

“Independence Day is one of the busiest days of the year for the police department, and we deploy almost three times the number of officers than on a normal day,” stated Police Chief Robert Luna. “I am pleased to report that although an enormous amount of people travel to our city and waterfront area to enjoy the holiday, the men and women of our department, along with our City partners, did an amazing job keeping everyone safe.”

Public Safety and Enforcement

Pre-Independence Dayenforcement efforts this year resulted in:

  • The seizure of several thousand pounds of illegal high-powered fireworks with a street value of $250,000, through a firework enforcement investigation on June 20, 2018.
  • Three other investigations that resulted in one arrest, one citation, and the confiscation of approximately 3,000 lbs. of fireworks, as well as narcotics, a handgun, magazines and ammunition.

On July 4, Police enforcement resulted in 26 felony and misdemeanor arrests, and 32 fireworks and misdemeanor citations.

On the beaches and waterways during July 4, Marine Safety personnel conducted and responded to 122 swim rescues including:

  • 62 oceanfront rescues.
  • 30 Bayshore rescues.
  • 14 Marine Park rescues.
  • 16 Colorado Lagoon rescues.

Also, from July 1 through July 5, there were 979 fireworks related calls to the Dispatch Center, whereas last year there were 1,227 fireworks related calls.

For the 24-hour period of July 4, the Dispatch Center saw a 35% increase in calls compared to on an average day. Dispatch Center staff 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.

During the peak time between 8:30 pm and 9:15 pm, the Dispatch Center received 408 combined calls (an average of nine calls a minute). Staffing in the Dispatch Center from 7:00 pm to 11:00 pm was augmented by 40% for the anticipated increase in call volume.

Pet Protection Campaigns

New strategies this year also involved a campaign focused on pet protection. ACS deployed their inaugural “Fireworks Campaign” at the beginning of June and circulated a series of print and social artwork pieces designed to help pet owners keep and calm their pets. The Campaign consisted of three objectives: “Owner Awareness,” which focuses on informing pet owners on how to safeguard animals against fireworks; “Pet Protection,” which focuses on providing free animal tags that help owners reunite with their pets quickly should they get lost; and “Foster the 4th” which encourages community members to foster current shelter dogs for a period of three weeks to make room for dogs brought to the shelter on July 4. The campaign resulted in:

  • 132 free animal tags distributed to pet owners and had an inscription of the pet owner’s information on them.
  • 14 dogs fostered out and spent their Independence Day holiday with foster families.

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.

For more information about the City of Long Beach, visit http://longbeach.gov/. Follow us on social to keep up with the latest news: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube