Despite being illegal across much of the Inland Empire, fireworks are big business. A stand in Colton will be open for six days and operators say they hope to raise about $50,000, part of which will go to Colton police K9 units. Still, Chief Mike Horton with the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department says illegal fireworks could mean a felony, punishable with up to five years in prison with $10,000 fines. Craig Fiegener reports from Colton for the NBC4 News at 6 p.m. on July 2, 2012.
As Independence Day rolls around the corner, city officials are urging citizens to keep safety in mind during Fourth of July festivities and celebrations.
Fireworks are illegal in 26 cities and all unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County, and only "safe and sane" fireworks are allowed in 32 cities, according to the Los Angeles County Fire Department.
Fireworks are dangerous and, if not handled appropriately, can lead to severe burns or even death, officials say.
From 2006-2010, six people were killed each year directly from fireworks while five were killed per year in fires started by fireworks, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department website on fire safety.
Children are especially vulnerable to fireworks, officials say, and kids aged 10 to 14 receive firework injuries at a rate three times higher than the general population, according to statistics provided by the LA County Department of Public Health.
"Kids are too cute and innocent to expose to the potential horrors of home fireworks," public health department officials said in a June release. "Nearly half of all firework-related injuries and deaths happen among children and teens."
Still, fireworks are a symbolic part of Independence Day celebrations and, when handled properly, can help make great memories.
Members from the public health and fire departments ask that citizens interested in purchasing fireworks buy only the "safe and sane" types, and also contact their local city hall to make sure fireworks are permitted in their city.