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Police crackdown on illegal fireworks
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Nellie Caballero of Turlock looks at fireworks that have been deemed "Safe and Sane" by the State Fire Marshal. - photo by FRANKIE TOVAR / The Journal

The Fourth of July celebration will undoubtedly include lots of pops, snaps and bangs and the Turlock Fire Department will be making sure that all pageantry is within the legal and safe use of fireworks.
The TFD, joined by the Turlock Police Department, will be on high alert and on the lookout for any use of illegal fireworks over the next few days.
The only fireworks that are legal in Turlock are those approved by the State Fire Marshal, which carry the Safe and Sane logo. Piccolo Pete's and/or Whistling Pete's are illegal in Turlock, as are any fireworks that have been modified or altered. This includes fireworks which fly into the air or explode.
Anyone caught with illegal fireworks will have them confiscated and will be issued a citation.
The strict enforcement efforts have been put in place to curb the high number of injuries and damage caused by the fireworks.
The National Fire Protection Association reported that in 2011 there were 9,600 fireworks related injuries that were treated in hospital emergency rooms across the nation. There were also 17,800 fires caused by fireworks that resulted in $32 million in direct damage. With the weather forecast of temperatures above the century mark and low humidity, all fireworks can be especially dangerous.
Last year the TFD issued about 20 citations over Independence Day. Two small fires were ignited from fireworks and both were extinguished quickly.
Fireworks can pose a health risk to those with respiratory issues. Fireworks emit large quantities of particulate matter, including soot, ash and metals, which cause serious health impacts, especially to people with existing respiratory conditions, elderly people and small children. Fine-particulate matter can invade the bloodstream and has been linked to heart attacks and stroke.
In addition, high levels of particulate matter jeopardize the Valley's progress in meeting air-quality standards that protect public health.
"Each year, we urge residents to consider the effects of our actions on our communities. People suffer from serious health consequences of activities that are entirely preventable," said Jaime Holt, the air district's chief communications officer.
A citizen who wants to report illegal fireworks may call 668-1200 and provide information to the dispatch center.
The TFD recommends the following firework guidelines:
* Fireworks should always be used with extreme caution and should only be handled by adults.
* Before using any fireworks, read and follow all warnings and instructions printed on the label.
* Fireworks are only to be lit outdoors, in a clear area away from structures (houses, buildings) and flammable materials (gasoline cans, lighter fluid, etc.)
* Keep a bucket of water nearby for emergencies and for dousing fireworks that do not ignite.
* Do not try to re-light or handle malfunctioning fireworks. Soak them with water and throw them away.
* Be sure other people are out of range before lighting fireworks.
* Never ignite fireworks in a container, especially glass or metal containers.
* Store fireworks in a dry and cool place. Check instructions for special storage directions.
* Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
* Only State Fire Marshal approved Safe and Sane Fireworks are allowed.
* Piccolo Pete's and/or Whistling Pete's are illegal in the City of Turlock, as are any fireworks that have been modified or altered. This includes fireworks which fly into the air or explode. If you are found with these type of fireworks you may be cited with a misdemeanor or infraction.