San Francisco Fireworks Safety & Reporting

Independence Day is right around the corner, which makes it the right time to refresh our memories on fireworks, particularly regarding safety and reporting.

When it comes to fireworks, San Francisco has a pretty straightforward policy: A zero tolerance for the use and sale of ALL fireworks. Yep, that includes sparklers.

According to the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD), in San Francisco, it’s illegal to possess or use fireworks such as sky rockets, bottle rockets, Roman candles, aerial shells, firecrackers and other types that explode, launch into the air, or move on the ground in an uncontrollable manner. This policy encompasses so-called “safe” fireworks such as the aforementioned sparklers and also fountains.

Using these fireworks can possibly end up with you being fined or serving jail time. Or worse yet, severely injured.

Before you start thinking local law enforcement is squashing all the fireworks fun, keep in mind that there’s an excellent reason for such a strict fireworks policy.

According to the SFPD, there are more than 12,000 fireworks-related injuries treated annually in U.S. emergency rooms. Of these injuries, half involve children. Sobering statistics, to say the least.

Another cautionary note is that parents are liable for any damage or injuries caused by their children using fireworks, according to the California Department of Forestry & Fire Protection (Cal Fire).

According to SF SAFE Executive Director Kyra Worthy, “Even a sparkler can burn at a temperature that’s hot enough to melt some metals. And when fireworks are misused and go awry, it can not only result in terrible personal injury, but also in fires that cause millions of dollars in property losses annually. So please join us in staying safe this summer and leave the fireworks to the pyrotechnic pros.”

Now that we’ve made it clear what the law is in San Francisco regarding fireworks—and how leaving it to the pros will help keep everyone safe—let’s take a moment to consider our furry friends.

It will come as no surprise that our four-legged furballs generally aren’t fans of fireworks’ season. Many a fur-parent has arrived home on the Fourth of July to find their dog or cat quivering in fear under the bed. It goes without saying that if people heed the warnings in this article—and leave the fireworks to the pros—there will be less neighborhood fireworks nearby to terrify our domestic animals. But just in case, and if you go out on the Fourth, consider leaving your pet in an interior, soundproofed room with a comforting blanket, favorite toy or chewy to focus on in order to help preempt any anxiety they made experience due to illegal fireworks.

As the SFPD often reminds everyone, “If you see something, say something.” That statement is also pertinent to when you witness illegal fireworks happening around the city. So if you see it, SF SAFE asks you to please report it.

Non-emergency calls regarding the use of fireworks should be placed to the non-emergency dispatch line at 415-553-0123. To report the unlawful sale or storage of fireworks, call 415-553-0123, the SFPD tip line at 415-575-4444, or text a tip to TIP411 and start the text message with SFPD. You can also contact the SFPD about suspected illegal fireworks by emailing them at

-Kathy Chouteau