Ventura, Calif. — There’s a lot more to the Fourth of July than just fireworks.
This year when celebrating America’s 245th birthday, Ventura police and fire are encouraging residents to explore safer ways to celebrate, such as finding an outdoor activity, taking a trip to the beach, or hosting a BBQ.
“Fireworks are simply too dangerous and unpredictable to be used safely,” said Fire Marshal Joe Morelli. “While we will never be able to eliminate accidents, the public needs to understand how easily fireworks can start a fire or cause serious injury.”
With dry brush surrounding Ventura’s hillsides, fireworks can pose great danger to community members and neighborhoods. It is illegal to possess, store, sell, use, or handle fireworks in the City of Ventura. If you’ve purchased fireworks not knowing they are illegal, safely surrender them by calling the Ventura Fire Department, Fire Prevention Division at 805-658-4717.
In 2018, the Ventura City Council adopted a Fireworks Social Host Ordinance stating that any homeowner, renter, or person in charge of a private property who knows, or should know, of the sale, use, or possession of any fireworks are subject to a civil penalty.
Commander Sarah Starr added, “The fun associated with the Fourth of July celebration can instantly turn tragic for those who fail to make safety a priority.”
Additionally, the holiday is also one of the most dangerous of the year for DUI-related incidents and fatalities. The Ventura Police Department encourages community members to stay off the road after consuming alcohol, marijuana, or prescription medications. With so many options for a safe and sober ride home, including rideshare services, there is no excuse for driving under the influence.
Take the following steps to help partner in making it a safe Fourth of July for all:
- Enjoy one of the many professional firework displays in Ventura County. While there are no public displays in the City of Ventura this year, community members can find safe alternatives in Camarillo, Moorpark, Ojai, Santa Paula, Simi Valley, and Thousand Oaks.
- If you see an impaired driver, call 9-1-1 immediately.
- If you see a neighbor lighting fireworks, call 9-1-1 if the activity is in-progress or poses and immediate threat to yourself or others.
- If there is no immediate threat, please keep 9-1-1 lines open by calling the 24/7 non-emergency line at 805-650-8010. Be prepared to provide a location of the activity and/or a description of those involved.
Anyone found in possession of fireworks, or caught using them, could be fined up to $1,000 and/or receive a jail term of up to a year
For more information on staying safe this Fourth of July, please visit www.cityofventura.ca.gov/Fireworks