CATHEDRAL CITY – The “Safe and Sane” Fireworks program, long a staple of Fourth of July holiday celebrations in this community, could soon become extinct. Fire Chief Paul Wilson recommends that all fireworks in Cathedral City, including the sale and discharge of “safe and sane” fireworks, be banned.

The City Council will consider Wilson’s recommendation at its Study Session at 4 p.m. Wednesday. Feb. 12.

Normally no action is taken on Study Session items, however, the City Council reserves the right to give specific policy direction and take specific action as necessary. Presentation will be limited to 10 minutes unless other provisions are made in advance.

For years, Cathedral City has been one of only four communities in the Coachella Valley to permit the sale and discharge of “safe and sane” fireworks. The other communities are Desert Hot Springs, Indio and Coachella.

Fireworks that fly into the air or explode are banned in California and are classified as illegal fireworks and are never permitted to be sold or discharged.

Will Fireworks Fizzle in Cathedral City?

Fire Chief Paul S. Wilson

“As a community which emphasizes public safety and quality of life, Cathedral City should consider not allowing the sale and discharge of “safe and sane” fireworks,” Wilson writes in his staff report. “The goal is to prevent potential injuries and fires and lessen the public perception that fireworks are allowed in the city.”

The “Safe and Sane” Fireworks” permits and fees generate $19,146 in revenue annually (if all six available permits are issued), which off-sets a portion of the costs for administrative tasks, public education advertising, inspections and additional police / code compliance officers for enforcement of illegal fireworks, according to Wilson.

Gross sales of “Safe and Sane’ Fireworks” in Cathedral City annually generate approximately $200,000 for the firework companies. The non-profits collectively receive approximately $75,000 annually in net revenues for local youth-oriented funding from the sales of “Safe and Sane” devices.

On July 4, 2019, the Police and Fire Dispatch Center received 183 calls for service; 84 of them were related to pyrotechnics.

An aggressive public education campaign, courtesy of the Fire Department, to prevent illegal pyrotechnics was credited in large part for reducing the number of associated calls and citations. This year, 84 citations were issued compared with 111 in 2018. Eight citations were issued this year compared with 20 citations last year.

There were no fireworks-related injuries reported.

The education campaign consisted of billboard advertising, bus stop posters, and signs along arterial roads.


Image Sources

  • Paul S. Wilson: Cathedral City Fire Department
  • Fireworks: Shutterstock