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Grover Beach prepares to enforce safe and legal fireworks for Fourth of July with new drone team

GROVER BEACH, Calif. – Grover Beach authorities are working together to ensure a safe Fourth of July holiday this year, which includes limiting the period for legal "safe and sane" fireworks with a new drone program.

“Fireworks are a traditional part of Fourth of July celebrations, yet every year people take needless risks by violating the law and established safety regulations,” said John Peters, Grover Beach Chief of Police.

“The Grover Beach Police Department typically receives an average of 47 calls for service regarding the illegal use of fireworks each July 4th holiday period. Compliance with state law and city regulations will help ensure the safety of community members and allow our public safety personnel to concentrate on the other high priority calls.”

Grover Beach amended its firework ordinance in May 2020 to limit the public discharge period for legal safe and sane fireworks to July 4 between 10 a.m. and 10 p.m. only.

Safe and sane fireworks are not explosive or project into the sky, and are often referred to as fountains, sparklers, smokeballs, snake-type fireworks, ground-spinning fireworks, and pinwheels, among others.

To monitor compliance this year, the Grover Beach Police Department will implement a new drone program to enhance the city's oversight. The drone team will be working with a team of officers on the ground who are "protecting residents from the direct impacts of illegal fireworks," city officials said.

The police department launched its drone program in February to increase its response and investigation capabilities, according to city officials.

Chief Steve Lieberman of the Five Cities Fire Authority asked residents to keep the drought in mind during the firework season, as many lawns have become dry and easily combustible in order to conserve water.

Other safety precautions while handling safe and sane fireworks include:

  • Avoiding anything that is not clearly labeled with the State Fire Marshal's seal
  • Never allow children to play with or light fireworks
  • Read and follow all manufacturers' warnings and instructions
  • Keep a source of water and a fire extinguisher nearby

The illegal discharge of fireworks in San Luis Obispo county may result in a misdemeanor violation with up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine.

“The use of illegal fireworks puts the public, police officers, and firefighters at risk and creates an unnecessary burden to our communities,” said Grover Beach City Manager Matthew Bronson. “Compliance with safety protocols will be key to help mitigate wildfire risk, reduce the impact on noise-sensitive community members and animals and ultimately create an enjoyable holiday for our city.”

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Jade Martinez-Pogue

Jade Martinez-Pogue is the Assignment Editor and web journalist at News Channel 3-12. To learn more about Jade, click here

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