SACRAMENTO, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Recent seizures of illegal fireworks around the state are a reminder of the approaching 4th of July holiday and the problems that are created when celebrants fail to stick with state-approved (“Safe and Sane”) fireworks. State and local fire officials pledge to continue a zero-tolerance commitment to catching lawbreakers – but with enforcement resources stretched thin, they need the public’s help. A new free smartphone app, developed by TNT Fireworks and offered for free to fire and law enforcement around the state, is expected to boost the public’s ability to report illegal firework activity with potentially enough information and accuracy for effective enforcement. Called Nail’em, the app is available for free download at both the Apple iTunes App and Google Play Stores.
“The impact of illegal fireworks ranges from the irritation of neighbors and dog owners over noise and debris to the serious injuries and fire danger that are incurred every year,” said Daniel Berlant, Chief of Public Information for CalFire, speaking on behalf of the State Fire Marshal. “The problem continues to grow, despite the best efforts of fire and law enforcement officials and the many examples of successful public education, administrative citations and task forces, such as this one. Unfortunately, the sale and use of illegal fireworks has reached epidemic proportions. As we approach the holiday, residents can help by being vigilant and reporting incidents of illegal fireworks sales or use to their local authorities.”
In late May, Los Angeles County and city officials confiscated 200,000 pounds of illegal fireworks with a street value of approximately $4 million. Earlier this month, authorities in San Bernardino County seized more than 10,000 pounds. And in the Sacramento area recently, a young boy playing with illegal fireworks in a car suffered serious injuries, including burns on his body and the mutilation of his hands.
Unlike Safe and Sane Fireworks, that neither explode nor fly into the air, illegal pyrotechnics are responsible for the overwhelming majority of injuries, fires and property damage that occur in connection with the 4th of July. The Greater Sacramento Area Fireworks Safety Task Force is fielding special teams to patrol, identify sellers and users of illegal fireworks, issue citations and prosecute offenders. The task force relies on funding generated from the sale of state-approved fireworks by more than 387 Sacramento-area non-profits.
Local enforcement agencies encourage residents to report illegal activity by phoning their local non-emergency numbers.
|City of Sacramento||(916) 264-5471||Unincorporated Sacramento County||(916) 859-3775|
|Elk Grove PD||(916) 714-5115|
|Rocklin||(916) 625-5400 (option 0)||Roseville||(916) 774-5000|
|Citrus Heights||(916) 859-3774||Rancho Cordova||(916) 859-3774|
|Galt PD||(209) 366-7000 (option 1)|
However, this year for the first time, residents can also use the power of smartphones to quickly and accurately file reports. Participating enforcement agencies can monitor the reports in real time, while other nonparticipating jurisdictions will still receive emailed copies of their jurisdiction’s reports. The free smartphone app can be easily downloaded (search for Nail’em in your app store) and includes a short video tutorial that makes reporting illegal firework problems a snap.
“TNT Fireworks has been on the cutting edge of fireworks safety since its entry into the California market 27 years ago, and the development, licensing and distribution of this new free smartphone app, at its own expense, is just one more example of TNT’s commitment to keeping people safe on the 4th of July holiday,” said Dennis Revell, spokesperson for TNT, the nation’s largest distributor of legal fireworks. “The Nail’em app allows people to report illegal fireworks and it automatically sends the report to the correct enforcement agency, including pictures, GPS coordinates and follow-up contact information if the person chooses not to be anonymous. This puts the power of the people in every community behind our efforts to bring the sale and use of illegal fireworks in California to a screeching halt.”
Revell added that it is important to distinguish between illegal fireworks and the Safe and Sane ones that have been a traditional part of 4th of July celebrations in California for decades. Approved by the State Fire Marshal’s Office as safe, the sale of these fireworks support educational materials, law enforcement teams, and prosecutors in a coordinated effort to reduce criminal behavior on the 4th of July. In addition, over 3,000 non-profits in over 296 communities throughout California benefit every year from the sale of state-approved fireworks, raising about $35 million that is used for local community services.
Sacramento Metro Fire Chief Mark A. Wells says all member agencies of the task force are stressing zero tolerance for illegal fireworks. “As first responders, our primary concern is for the safety of our community members. Every year, firefighters throughout this region respond to fires and injuries caused by illegal fireworks or by fireworks used improperly,” he said. “We want everyone to enjoy their 4th of July celebrations, but understand that illegal fireworks put many people in danger, and they will not be tolerated.”
Sacramento County Deputy District Attorney Amy Holliday, another member of the Greater Sacramento Area Fireworks Safety Task Force, points out that the consequences for using illegal fireworks are significant. “We take these cases seriously because of the tremendous damage and injuries that can occur when illegal fireworks are sold and used,” said Holliday. “Possession of illegal fireworks can mean five days in county jail, while those caught using illegal fireworks can be sentenced to a minimum stay of 10 days.”
The Greater Sacramento Area Fireworks Safety Task Force is a safety coalition composed of representatives of local government, the fire service, the 387 non-profit organizations who sell state-approved fireworks in the Greater Sacramento area, the media, and the state-approved fireworks industry. The Task Force, formed more than 26 years ago, served as a model for the highly acclaimed “California Statewide Fireworks Safety & Education Program” coordinated through the Office of the State Fire Marshal with the assistance of Revell Communications, and distributed by the over 3,000 non-profit organizations who sell state-approved fireworks and to school districts throughout the state.
NOTE: All materials, including videos and PSAs (as well as all safety videos and PSAs produced and distributed over the last 24-years) and information and video tutorials on the Nail‘em smartphone app are available online at…www.ca-fireworks.com
Dennis C. Revell, spokesperson for TNT Fireworks and its “Nail’em” Illegal Fireworks Reporting App, will be available in Los Angeles for interviews on Friday and Saturday, June 24 and 25, at the Los Angeles Airport Marriot Hotel, 5855 W. Century Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90045. Please contact him via email (DCR@revellcommunications.com) or cell phone (916-952-5351) to schedule an interview.