LOS ANGELES – In response to the onslaught of illegal fireworks activity, City Attorney Mike Feuer announced today both action he is taking to curb online sales of fireworks and a new public education campaign about the myriad reasons people should stop setting them off.
"Almost every corner of L.A. is facing what seems like an enormous increase in illegal fireworks activity when so many of us are already on edge because of the virus," said Feuer. "Between the very real risk of injuries and the unacceptable impact on Veterans with PTSD, kids with special needs and our pets, the nightly onslaught of illegal fireworks we’re experiencing needs to stop."
"Loud noises like fireworks are no fun for animals! A scared dog or cat can quickly slip through an open door or a tiny break in the fence and get lost," said Brenda Barnette, General Manager for LA Animal Services. "Fireworks have other risks for animals too. They can cause burns or be ingested which can be fatal. Please keep your animals safely indoors in a room, play soft music and give them a few of their favorite toys. They’ll like it even better if you stay safer at home with them."
In working to curb sales of illegal fireworks, Feuer is targeting popular online and mobile marketplaces with cease and desist letters. His office is also investigating online sales into the City of Los Angeles.
Among the numerous reasons Feuer gave on why setting off illegal fireworks is wrong is the grave dangers they pose, causing thousands of emergency room visits each year with burns and injuries to hands and fingers, legs and eyes among the most common. The surging coronavirus adds another potential challenge to being able to get treated in an emergency room.
From a good neighbor perspective, lesser known is the harm that illegal fireworks can have on Veterans suffering from PTSD. While in previous years, people could anticipate and prepare for annual fireworks shows taking place on July 4th, it is impossible to be ready for fireworks being set off randomly throughout the night weeks prior. According to the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, up to 20 percent of military personnel who served in Iraq or Afghanistan experience PTSD, which sudden, loud noises can trigger.
In a similar vein, unplanned and unsettling loud fireworks can be harrowing for families with kids who have special needs. Children with autism spectrum disorders, or other sensory issues, may not be able to tolerate the noise. In previous years, parents could avoid annual fireworks shows or attend “Sensory Friendly” displays, but with illegal fireworks being set off randomly throughout the night, weeks before July 4, they do not have the options with which to support their children.
And again, fireworks can be terrifying for our pets. More dogs run away and get lost around July 4th than any other day of the year. The City of Los Angeles Department of Animal Services has taken in over 1,000 lost pets over the past few years during the week of July 4th.
To file complaints about illegal fireworks, residents may visit https://complaint.lacity.org/Complaint/fireworks/
LAPD will also accept illegal fireworks without penalty. Resident should first call 877-ASK-LAPD for guidance.