DCA’s Division of Fire Safety Issues Annual Holiday Fireworks SAFETY ADVISORY in Advance of This Year’s Midweek July Fourth Celebration

Discourages New Jersey Residents from Purchasing Fireworks in States Where they are Available

TRENTON, NJ: The New Jersey Department of Community Affairs’ (DCA) Division of Fire Safety today issued an advisory to residents in advance of July 4th concerning the traditional statewide celebration of our nation’s independence.

“The July 4th holiday is a great time to celebrate and have fun with friends and family,” said Commissioner Richard E. Constable, III. “I encourage everyone to be safe and to allow the professionals to provide the fireworks displays that we all enjoy.”

While DCA officials encourage everyone to enjoy the midweek break and heed prior cautions regarding barbecues, they also have a clear and strong warning regarding the possession or use of individual fireworks.

“In advance of the day itself, some New Jersey residents may be inclined to travel to other states to “stock up” on fireworks for individual use,” said the Division of Fire Safety Acting Director and State Fire Marshal William Kramer, Jr. “The transport and/or possession of individual use fireworks across and within state boundaries is quite simply against the law. Residents risk serious fines and penalties if they are found to be in possession of them, plain and simple. We need only look to fireworks injury statistics to show us why they are illegal here.”

Kramer referenced the 2010 national fireworks related injury statistics to demonstrate the key reason for the longtime state individual fireworks ban. A tally of individual firework related injuries shows that regardless of the type of firework -- from firecrackers to sparklers to bottle rockets -- there is a serious risk associated with their individual use:

  • Children under 15 years old accounted for 40 percent of the estimated injuries.
  • Children and young adults under 20 years old had 53 percent of the estimated injuries.
  • An estimated 900 injuries were associated with firecrackers. Of these, an estimated 30 percent were associated with small firecrackers, 17 percent with illegal firecrackers, and 53 percent where the type of firecracker was not specified.
  • An estimated 1,200 injuries were associated with sparklers and 400 with bottle rockets.
  • The parts of the body most often injured were hands and fingers (30 percent), legs (22 percent), eyes (21 percent), and head, face, and ears (16 percent).
  • More than half of the injuries were burns. Burns were the most common injury to all parts of the body except the eyes, where contusions, lacerations, and foreign bodies in the eye occurred more frequently.
  • Most patients were treated at the emergency department and then released. An estimated 7 percent of patients were treated and transferred to another hospital or admitted to the hospital
  • 65 percent of the injured were males and 35 percent were females.

(Source FEMA United States Fire Administration National Fire Incident Reporting)

Kramer adds that the best way to prevent firework injuries in the Garden State is to take advantage of the myriad of professional fireworks displays available during the Holiday week that must meet New Jersey Division of Fire Safety Uniform Fire Code standards. These professional displays must adhere to stringent state permit requirements before they can be viewed, to ensure the safety of those in attendance, especially young children.

Fireworks Information links:

Consumer Product Safety Commission