Where you can buy and use fireworks in the Bay Area

SAN BRUNO, Calif. (KGO) -- America is about to turn 243, which means it's fireworks season.

If you've been around California, you know fireworks are controversial. They can spark fires, and they're dangerous.

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According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, last year five people were killed nationwide and another 9,100 were hospitalized with injuries as a result of handling fireworks.

Regardless, people are going to use them come Thursday. So, we went to San Bruno, where so-called "safe and sane" fireworks are legal, to learn where to use them and how to do it safely.

What are "safe and sane" fireworks?

"'Safe and sane' fireworks are anything that does not shoot in the sky or explode," Arturo Sainz, a fireworks vendor in San Bruno, explained.

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They have to have the safe fire marshal seal on them and are sold at state authorized fire booths.

What are illegal fireworks?

On the flip-side, are illegal fireworks which are considered explosives.

"They have all kinds of different names, slang names," Bruno Police Department Lt. Ryan Johansen said. " But you have all of your M-80s, M-1000s, that go, 'boom explode.' Cheery bombs, bottle rockets, Roman candles. Anything like this is going to be illegal."

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San Bruno PD says anyone found using or possessing illegal fireworks or even allowing illegal fireworks used at their party, will be fined $1,000. Some cities that fine is even more.

Where are "safe and sane" fireworks sold?

There are 12 cities in the greater Bay Area that allow the sale and use of "safe and sane" fireworks. Those cities including San Bruno, Pacifica, Union City, Newark, Dublin, Gilroy, Seaside, Watsonville, Petaluma, Sebastopol, Rohnert Park and Cloverdale.

Even in those cities, fireworks are highly regulated.

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"Technically the only places where you're legally allowed to use 'safe and sane' fireworks are on your own private property and a reasonable safe distance from homes or flammables," Lt. Johansen said. "No city parks, no parking lots, no public property at all, and not even on the street."

How to use "safe and sane" fireworks safely?

Most important is to stay away from anything flammable. According to the CPSC, you should also never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not ignited fully and also keep a bucket of water or a garden hose nearby.

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According to Lt. Johansen, it's best to stay away from anything flammable.

"Beyond that, it's really important when the fireworks are done that prior to disposing of them you soak them in water," Lt. Johansen said. "We have a number of fire-related calls every year that are just from people trying to do the right thing, but throw the expended fireworks into their trash can and then the fire starts from there."
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