With Independence Day approaching, two City Council members from the Valley, firefighters and a physician noted for treating burn injuries cautioned area residents to avoid fireworks.
The news conference, held Monday at Fire Station No. 108 on Mulholland Drive in the Santa Monica Mountains, kicked off the annual Anti-Fireworks Campaign.
Councilwoman Laura Chick said fireworks not only endanger children and other family members but also "very much [threaten] the lives of our hard-working firefighters."
The private use and sale of fireworks has been illegal in Los Angeles since 1942, said city Fire Department spokesman Michael Little. It is also illegal to use or sell any type of fireworks in all unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County, and in 50 of the other 87 incorporated cities in the county, said county Fire Department spokesman Henry Rodriguez.
Last year in California there were 291 reported fireworks accidents requiring medical attention.
Of those, almost half were caused by illegal fireworks.
Also on hand to emphasize the danger of fireworks was City Councilman Michael Feuer and Dr. A. Richard Grossman, who has performed numerous lifesaving operations on burn victims at the Sherman Oaks Hospital burn center named in his honor.
Officials urged people to seek an alternative to setting off their own fireworks by attending a professional exhibition over the Fourth of July weekend.
For information, in English and Spanish, on area fireworks shows sponsored by the city, call (818) 786-5170 or (213) 626-2871.