The Kern County Fire Department would again like to thank our community for following the direction to use the online “Illegal Fireworks Reporter” this year. How did this reporting tool aid with emergency operations and enforcement?
First, non-emergency calls for illegal fireworks were directed away from the Emergency Communication Center, allowing dispatchers to concentrate on emergency calls. Their focus on emergency calls is necessary to quickly route fire personnel to the scene of time sensitive emergencies.
Second, real-time data was collected and accessible by enforcement teams.
This year another new technology was used to increase our department’s effectiveness. On July 3rd and 4th an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle was utilized, for the first time by the KCFD, to identify the use of illegal fireworks. The effectiveness of this decision can be seen by comparing enforcement results of this year to last. In 2021, 40 citations were issued during enforcement operations of the Independence Day weekend. This year, through the use of these new technologies, we have the potential to issue 120 citations pending review. That represents a potential 200% increase! Of the 120 potential citations, 100 are from the use of the UAV in unincorporated areas of Bakersfield alone.
On Monday, July 4th, Kern County firefighters responded to 77 separate fires. Preliminary reports show that fireworks were the cause of 54 of those fires. These statistics show how easily fires can start in our local draught conditions. They also highlight the need for individuals to stop using illegal fireworks.
Another positive is that preliminary reports show that the KCFD did not respond to any firework related injuries this year.