May 30, 2024 - News

SF civil grand jury recommends illegal fireworks task force


Residents watch fireworks in the Mission in 2014. Photo: Carlos Avila Gonzalez/San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images

San Francisco's civil grand jury this week determined that issues with illegal fireworks result from "little to no coordination" among city departments and recommended increasing citywide data collection and analysis.

Why it matters: Private fireworks, which are illegal in the city, can start fires, cause injuries, and traumatize children and pets, the grand jury said in its report.

  • Last year, for example, the emergency room at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital treated six people with fireworks-related injuries, including burns and blast injuries to hands and eyes between July 1 and 4, Mission Local reports.

State of play: The report also called for the creation of an illegal fireworks work group — led by the Department of Emergency Management — to streamline coordination around preventing the use of illegal fireworks in the city and educating residents about their dangers.

What they're saying: "All private fireworks are illegal in San Francisco, yet they continue to be a constant problem throughout the year, especially on July 4th," Bart Fisher, a committee chairperson, says. "It's important to get city departments working together towards solutions."

By the numbers: From 2018 through 2023, the city's 911 dispatch center received 960 fireworks-related calls, with the most occurring in June and July, according to the report.

  • District 9, which includes the Mission, Bernal Heights and the Portola, had the third-highest number of calls (136) to the 911 dispatch center but tied with District 3 for the highest number (27) of fireworks-related incidents that involved police.
  • These incidents included exploding fireworks, possession of fireworks and fireworks thrown at people or discharged in a crowd.

What to watch: The jury requires that the mayor's office respond to the findings and recommendations within 60 calendar days.

  • The mayor's office did not respond to our request for comment by the time of publication.

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