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American River Messenger

Sac County Introduces Social Host Ordinance

May 27, 2022 12:00AM ● By By Kim Nava, Sacramento County

SACRAMENTO COUNTY, CA (MPG) - The Board of Supervisors, at its May 11 meeting, introduced an ordinance amending Sacramento County Code Chapter 4.54 to add host liability and penalties for violations of county code relating to fireworks. The ordinance will be continued to the May 24 Board meeting for adoption and will go into effect June 24, 2022.

Strategies to help address fireworks safety concerns in the past have focused on education and mitigation, including press releases, informational handouts and fireworks inspections. 

Enforcement efforts have also included illegal fireworks buy-busts, confiscation and citations, arson investigations and proper disposal of illegal fireworks. 

However, a public safety tool that has been increasingly used successfully in other jurisdictions is a “host ordinance” that places accountability for sales and/or use of illegal fireworks on property owners. 

“Host,” as it relates to this ordinance, means a person who knowingly permits or allows fireworks to be lit, exploded or sold on private property owned or controlled by the person, and the person knows or reasonably should have known that the fireworks would have been lit, exploded or sold.

Amending Sacramento County Code Chapter 4.54 creates new host responsibilities that include liability and penalties with increased fines for violations of the county code relating to Fireworks and provides an additional tool for reducing harm caused by use of illegal fireworks. Penalties for violations are as follows:

$1,000 for the first violation; $2,500 for the second violation within one year of the first violation; $5,000 for each additional violation within one year of the first violation; $10,000 for each violation that occurs within the American River Parkway

The ordinance to add host liability for illegal fireworks allows fire, law enforcement (including park rangers) and code enforcement agencies to hold the owner or person in charge of real property or conducting an illegal fireworks event responsible for costs of response associated with the presence of emergency personnel, the discharge of illegal fireworks on private property or the American River Parkway, and any aiding and abetting the discharge of illegal fireworks.

How to identify legal and illegal fireworks:

All legal fireworks are called Safe and Sane; All legal fireworks bear the state fire marshal’s seal; Anything that goes up in the air, travels or explodes is illegal and dangerous.

Residents should report illegal fireworks sales and usage at the following phone numbers/emails:

Unincorporated County: 916-874-5115 or [email protected] Sacramento: 916-808-FIRE Rancho Cordova: 916-362-5115 Citrus Heights: 916-727-5500 

Aren’t sure who or how to report? Call 3-1-1 to be connected to the right place.