CATHEDRAL CITY, Calif. -

Firework vendors prepare for the 4th of July holiday, while firefights are on high alert. Every year, thousands of people across the nation injure themselves lighting fireworks.  Oftentimes, those injuries are from the use illeagal fireworks.  Officials in the Coachella Valley are bulking up their resources to crack down on any illegal fireworks. "If you're in possession of illegal fireworks, we're going to have extra enforcement out on the fourth of July," said Cathedral City Fire Department Batallion Chief Robert Van Nortrick.  "Anyone caught with illegal fireworks could be subject to a misdemeanor."

In order to avoid purchasing illegal fireworks, customers are encourged to look for the California State Marshall seal.  The fire department also offers some valuable tips:

-Fireworks may be discharged until 12 AM on the 4th of July in communities where "safe and sane" fireworks are permitted including Cathedral City, Indio, and Coachella

-Make sure fireworks are legal in your community before purchasing and discharging

-Consumers must be 18 years old to purchase, possess, and discharge fireworks.

-Always have a garden hose and a bucket of water close by.  Soak used fireworks in the bucket of water before discarding in the trash

-Discharge fireworks outside and at least 20 feet away from brush and other combustibles

-Never attempt to relight a dud; wait 20 minutes and discard properly

-Light one firework at a time

-Be mindful of your pets; pets are very sensitive and easily frighten from fireworks

-If you're caught possessing illegal fireworks, you may be subjected to fines and jail time depending on the quantity

Another rule to follow concerns the actual lighting of the fuse. "You want to make sure you stand back a safe distance, while you're lighting the firework," said Van Nortrick.
Once the show ends, it's important to take proper precautions to discard of the fireworks. "Carry it over to your bucket of water and dip it in to extinguish it," said Van Nortrick. "We recommend you leave the firework in the bucket for at least twenty minutes before you discard it in the trash."

It's also important to keep an eye on your children.  Last year, 40% of firework injuries involved children under the age of fifteen. "Some kids, younger kids may be startled by some of the noises these make so want to be mindful and keep them at a safe distance," said Van Nortrick.

You can find firework stands at the following locations:

-Calvary Christian Center, Rio Vista Plaza, 67-800 Vista Chino

-Cathedral City Boxing Club, 31655 Date Palm Drive, near Cardenas Market

-Tower of Salvation Apostolic Assembly, northwest corner of Date Palm Dr./Adelina

-St. Louis Church, 34-401 Date Palm Drive, near Food For Less