Firefighters from the San Bernardino County Fire Protection District (SBCoFD) have recently seen an increase in the number of requests to dispose of used needles of sharps at county fire stations.

These requests present a significant risk for firefighters attempting to help communities properly dispose of these hazardous materials, officials said. These sharps can injure both residents and firefighters, exposing them to diseases such as hepatitis and HIV/AIDS, requiring the victim to be tested for years.

Per California State Law, it is illegal to dispose of sharps in the trash, recycling bin or composting bins. It is also illegal to transport sharps in a non-biohazard container.

“Used needles pose a significant public health risk to both residents and firefighters,” said Fire Marshal Mike Horton. “The San Bernardino County Fire Protection District’s Office of the Fire Marshal (OFM) encourages residents to take advantage of the disposal services we offer from our Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) division. Do not dispose of your sharps, syringes or lancets in the garbage. Help keep our residents and firefighters safe by using an approved sharps container to transport these materials to your local Household Hazardous Waste facility for proper and safe disposal of these items.”

Approved sharps containers may be obtained at various online stores, as well as from a local pharmacy, some big-box stores or at one of the county’s permanent HHW facilities.

"Place a secure lid on the sharps container. Then, bring that container to any of permanent county collection facilities," Horton said.

For a list of locations and hours of operations, visit: https://www.sbcfire.org/ofm/hhw/CollectionFacilities.aspx

For questions or more information, call 1-800-OILY CAT.

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