Independence Day is nigh and public safety officials in the Los Angeles area are preparing for what could be a hectic day.
Though he didn't have specific numbers for Independence Day, LAFD Chief Armando Hogan, the department's community liaison officer, said that there is an increase in calls when the holiday comes around: While there are 1,100 general responses on an average day, he said, the 4th of July could have as many as 1,400-1,500 responses. Surprisingly, that's a lower number than usual.
“We are coming down in injuries,” Hogan said, adding that a major reason for the drop is the illegality of fireworks, all of which (sparklers, fire crackers, rockets) are illegal in Los Angeles. Because of that, many who call to report injuries fail to disclose that fireworks were involved.
“It depends on how they’re reported,” Hogan explained. “Because it is illegal.”
By the numbers:
– Over the past year, the Los Angeles Fire Department responded to 395 incidents involving burns.
– 26% of fireworks-related injuries come by way of firecrackers in Los Angeles; 21% stem from rockets and 11% are the byproduct of sparklers. All of these are illegal in Los Angeles.
– Nearly half of all victims who get injured by fireworks are under the age of 15.
- According to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (USCPSC), 68% of firework injuries happen to males.
– Also according to the USCPSC, four people nationwide were killed by fireworks in 2011; none of those deaths were in California. On average, 6.6 people nationally die each year as a result of fireworks.
– Possession of fireworks can result in a $1,000 fine in Los Angeles.
Last Independence Day, a 12-year-old South L.A. girl sustained eye injuries through the use of a "firecracker-like" device. She had to be taken to Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. And on July 3, 2007, a boy lost four of his fingers when he lit a firework he thought was a Roman candle.
LAPD Officer Rosario Herrera said that fireworks tend to be a problem all around Los Angeles.
“I think fireworks have been a problem throughout the Los Angeles area,” Herrera said. “People can get arrested for possessing selling them.”
Herrera said that in order to deal with the large numbers of people who might get hurt, the department makes sure they have plenty of staff ready to work the holiday.
“We do have a sufficient amount of officers,” Herrera said. “We make sure that everyone’s safe, because some people might get burned.”
All statistics courtesy of the Los Angeles Fire Department.