City of Long Beach
Public Information Office
411 W. Ocean Blvd,
Long Beach, CA 90802
Long Beach, CA – Last month, the City of Long Beach activated its Celebrate Safely campaign to educate the public about the hazards of fireworks, the consequences of setting off fireworks illegally, and safety tips to ensure everyone has an enjoyable and safe Independence Day. Over the Fourth of July weekend, the Long Beach coastline filled with visitors, and spectators had the opportunity to view professional fireworks shows over Alamitos Bay on July 3 and the downtown waterfront on July 4. The City is now issuing the below statistics regarding fireworks enforcement and other public safety response efforts.
Complaints Regarding Illegal Firework Activity
The City takes seriously the enforcement of firework activity and has expanded the scope of liability and penalties associated with this illegal activity with its enhanced fireworks ordinance. Several different fireworks-reporting options were shared via the City’s fireworks information hub to garner submissions from the public to aid in the City’s fireworks enforcement efforts. Options included submitting a complaint on the Go Long Beach app and/or webpage, calling the City’s Communications Center Non-Emergency Line, and emailing information to the LBPD patrol division where the fireworks activity was occurring.
In total so far this year, nearly 2,300 reports of fireworks usage have been reported across all three platforms, with over one thousand submitted over the Fourth of July weekend alone. In total to date this year, 463 firework related reports have been submitted via Go Long Beach, and the City Prosecutor’s Office is in the process of reviewing the complaints from the holiday weekend. Under the City’s fireworks ordinance, reports may also be considered for potential civil fines for the host of the property, if criminal prosecution is not possible. The City encourages anyone who has evidence of firework activity to submit as detailed information as possible for review for prosecution or civil fines under the City’s Ordinance.
The City Prosecutor’s Office continues to provide extensive outreach to the public, encouraging residents to call the Non-Emergency Line and use the Go Long Beach app and/or webpage to report fireworks activity. Additionally, when a specific location can be identified for fireworks activity, the City Prosecutor’s Office, with support from LBPD, issues letters to the property owners and tenants notifying recipients that the discharge of illegal fireworks constitutes a public nuisance and that prosecution under California Penal Code section 373a (with up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine) may commence if the public nuisance persists.
Public Safety Response and Enforcement Statistics:
As thousands of people flocked to the City’s beaches and parks and gathered at home with family and friends, additional public safety personnel from the Fire and Police Departments were on duty and ready to provide emergency response.
Over the holiday weekend, from Friday, July 1 through Monday, July 4, Long Beach Fire Department (LBFD) personnel responded to a total of eight fireworks-related incidents, including one structure fire with a high probability the fire was related to fireworks and another structure fire possibly fireworks related. LBFD also experienced a 7% increase in total calls for service and a 131% increase in outdoor fire related calls compared to the average number of calls received on other days of the year. Additionally, Long Beach lifeguards responded to emergencies and made 136 swim rescues and 19 boat rescues from beaches and waterways on July 4 alone, a 600% and 300% respective increase in water rescues typically performed on a Monday during the summertime. LBFD personnel also visited several dozen permitted block parties that took place throughout Long Beach to engage with residents and educate them on the danger fireworks pose.
During this year’s fireworks direct enforcement efforts, from December 2021 through July 4, 2022, over 16,000 pounds of fireworks were seized by LBPD, with an additional 107 unused pieces of fireworks seized on July 4 alone. On July 4 alone, citywide police enforcement resulted in 12 adult felony arrests, five misdemeanor arrests and six fireworks-related citations. Officers were strategically assigned throughout the city to deter criminal activity, conduct enforcement and prevent significant incidents from occurring. In the weeks and days leading up to the Fourth of July weekend, LBPD officers visited neighborhoods and business areas to promote the Celebrate Safely campaign and reached nearly 33,000 community members through fireworks-related social media engagement. On July 4, Officers also visited 37 permitted block parties throughout the city to engage with residents, distribute handouts, and remind people of the fireworks reporting options and the importance of the ‘See Something, Say Something’ philosophy.
City Communications Center Statistics:
Over the course of the holiday weekend, Friday, July 1 through Monday, July 4, there were 752 fireworks-related calls to the City’s Communications Center 9-1-1 and Non-Emergency Lines. During the 24-hour period of July 4 alone, the Dispatch Center handled 431 fireworks-related calls and 3,410 total calls (9-1-1 and the non-emergency line), resulting in 1,126 calls-for-service. This equates to a 35% increase in total calls received by the Dispatch Center compared to an average day. During the peak period of 8:30 p.m. to 9:15 p.m. on July 4, the Dispatch Center received an average of eight calls per minute on both 9-1-1 and the non-emergency lines; in preparation for this increase in call volume, Dispatch Center staffing was augmented by 20% between the hours of 7 and 11 p.m.
As firework-related calls start to pick up every year throughout June and through the Fourth of July, the City is noting this year that in 2022, fireworks-related calls for that time period were 56% of last year’s total during the same time period, representing a dramatic decrease. For comparative data of other stats from 2021, click here
The City will continue to encourage residents to Celebrate Safely throughout the year to prevent the use of illegal fireworks in Long Beach. The City continues to identify and address firework activity in the city, as addressed in the recent Illegal Explosives and Fireworks Action Plan Status Report.
Media inquiries may be directed to the Office of Public Affairs and Communications at 562.570.NEWS or LongBeachMedia@longbeach.gov.
About the Celebrate Safely Campaign
While the Long Beach Fire Department and Police Department have been educating the community about the fireworks for many years, the City launched the Celebrate Safely campaign in 2019 to provide more information, resources and ongoing safety messaging for the Fourth of July holiday, in addition to several other holidays where fireworks are often used. The campaign has since served as an ongoing platform to educate community members about the importance of participating in safe, family friendly activities. The Celebrate Safely campaign also includes a social media campaign, educational billboard signs, advertisements in print and digital media, digital community toolkits, participation at community meetings, and more. For more information, people may visit longbeach.gov/fireworks.