How to Have a Safe 4th of July in Sacramento

Day after backyard fireworks dsiplay July 4th clean up the garbage
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Sacramento is a great city to celebrate the 4th of July. There are plenty of fireworks displays happening all over town, as well as a lot of Independence Day celebrations worth checking out. With a heavy population of residents at these events, as well as the fact Sacramento and its surrounding areas are legally permitted to sell fireworks to individuals, it is important to not only have fun but stay safe too. Use these quick tips and common sense to stay protected, entertained and firework-friendly this 4th of July!

  • 01 of 05

    How Fireworks Work

    Sparklers and small fireworks still burn at approximately 2,000 degrees, which may come as a surprise to many. If you're a Sacramento native, you undoubtedly grew up setting off fireworks at home, often purchased at a local booth located down the street during 4th of July season. This long-standing tradition for Sacramento families can cause a false feeling of safety, and a distinct lack of understanding in regards to how exactly fireworks work. While aerial fireworks are designed literally like missiles, the home variety you can purchase yourself aren't really too different. Smaller and easier to handle, these carry fewer restrictions but still contain a fuse and "motor" to help them ignite and sparkle. Firecrackers don't light up, but their noise can be just as dangerous as they crackle and pop unpredictably.

  • 02 of 05

    If you choose to purchase fireworks to use at home or at a 4th of July party, be aware of distance and safety measures at all times. Ophthalmologists note that many more emergency room visits are as a result of eye injuries during these summer months, and Sacramento is no exception to this rule. When igniting fireworks, stand at least 500 feet away once they are lit. You may also consider wearing protective eye gear when lighting fireworks, as they can be very unpredictable. You want 4th of July to be memorable for the right reasons, not because of a hospital visit. Finally, be sure to always have a bucket of water nearby that is large enough to douse any particularly unruly firecracker or sparkler.

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    Fireworks booths line the streets of Sacramento during the 4th of July season. However, not all sales are the same. Purchase your fireworks from a reputable booth such as TNT or Phantom Fireworks. The majority of the city's booths are run by local non-profit organizations as a fundraiser, so if you aren't sure where to buy, contact your favorite Sacramento charity to see if they are running a booth. All non-profits selling fireworks must go through a reputable company to obtain booth space, which ensures you are getting a quality product that has been made as safe as possible. Never buy fireworks that are unpackaged, sold by a third party or seem very generic or plain in design. Stick with recognizable brand names and go with what you're familiar with.

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    Never allow children to ignite fireworks, either on their own or with adult supervision. Kids should safely sit 500 feet away from fireworks. To curb their desire to participate in the 4th of July festivities, give them other fun jobs for the holiday celebration. This could include picking out a special blanket or folding chair at a store to use as they watch home fireworks. You could also encourage them to prepare a special dessert or pick a radio station to listen to while watching the fun from an appropriate distance. Make sure everything is cleaned up following your last firecracker. Don't procrastinate in cleaning up any wrappers or fireworks that didn't go off, especially if children live in the home or general vicinity. A firework that failed to ignite may explode without warning when touched. If you have a firework like this, call your local fire department or have an adult safely remove it with the utmost caution.

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  • 05 of 05

    Setting off fireworks at home or anywhere else can be subject to fines and legal consequences if the law is broken. A large percentage of those who buy fireworks are not aware of the laws in Sacramento County, or in the state of California in general. Before this 4th of July, know the rules:

    • The State Fire Marshall of California decides which types of fireworks are able to be sold as consumer products. These are known as “safe and sane” fireworks.
    • Fireworks may only be sold between June 28 and July 4 in California. If you buy fireworks in Sacramento County sooner or later than this window, you are breaking the law.
    • Skyrockets, large sparklers, roman candles and a few other varieties are not sold to consumers in Northern California
    • Even if you are not setting them off, having possession of any illegal fireworks such as the ones listed above can lead to financial penalties and/or jail time.
    • Sacramento County allows fireworks to be set off between June 28 and July 4 only.
    • Consumer fireworks are...MORE illegal in the unincorporated portions of Placer County.
    • The one exception to the Placer County rule is in Roseville, fireworks may be sold and used.
    • Consumer fireworks are also illegal in El Dorado County
    • Any individual wishing to have an aerial fireworks display at an event in Sacramento, Placer or El Dorado counties must employ specially trained and certified individuals to run the show.