Ask the County Law Librarian – “Safe & Sane” Fireworks on New Year’s Eve?
I found your website and I have a question about fireworks. I happen to have been born on New Year’s Eve and always thought it would be fun (weather permitting) to have some of the Red Devil fountains to light . . . I guess they are called safe and sane now . . . in my day, that meant Red Devils!
So, is it legal to set off California legal fireworks any time of year? If not, would I need a permit or something? Also, is it legal to purchase fireworks online, as long as they meet a safe and sane standard?
Also, I would most likely be celebrating with friends in Citrus Heights . . . does that make a difference?
FYI, we would either use the street, or the driveway. I’m totally willing to get oil drip pans and fill them with clay cat litter to catch the sparks. We always have a bucket of water, a hose and a fire extinguisher handy.
Thanks! Any help would be greatly appreciated.
A. Hi Pamela!
Nice to see that someone else is concerned with safety when it comes to handling fireworks. Personally, I think “safe and sane fireworks” is an oxymoron, but I realize I am in the minority.
According to the California Code of Regulations, a license isn’t required for the use or discharge of “safe and sane” fireworks. 19 CCR § 981. The specifications for “safe and sane” fireworks is set forth in 19 CCR § 986.6. You can search the California Code of Regulations at http://ccr.oal.ca.gov/linkedslice/default.asp?SP=CCR-1000&Action=Welcome.
California “State Fireworks Law” limits the time period for legally selling “safe and sane” fireworks to between noon June 28 and 10 p.m. July 6th of the same year. California Health & Safety Code § 12599. The state law does not seem to limit the time of year you can set off fireworks; however, “nothing in the State Fireworks Law authorizes the sale, use, or discharge of fireworks in any city or county where that sale, use, or discharge is otherwise prohibited or regulated.” California Health & Safety Code § 12541.
Both the County of Sacramento and the City of Citrus Heights prohibit the possession, sale, use, display or explosion of any fireworks with two exceptions: certain public displays with the written permission of the fire chief that take place under the supervision and direction of a state-licensed operator; and the sale, use or discharge of “safe and sane” fireworks to noon June 28 and 10 p.m. July 5th of the same year. Sacramento County Code § 4.54.320; Citrus Heights Code of Ordinances § 38-68. You can search the Citrus Heights Code of Ordinances at http://library.municode.com/index.aspx?clientID=13326&stateID=5&statename=California.
So, no “safe and sane” fireworks display on New Year’s Eve in Citrus Heights. As for purchasing them online, the State Fireworks Law provides that “it is unlawful for any person to sell or transfer any safe and sane fireworks to a consumer or user thereof other than at a
fixed place of business of a retailer for which a license and permit has been issued.” California Health & Safety Code § 12681.
I’m sorry, Pamela. Don’t worry, though, I’m sure you will have a Happy Birthday anyway—it is the law of safety karma.
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