July 01, 2021 - New Jersey State Fire Marshal Urges Extreme Caution When Using Sparkling Devices and Novelties During Fourth of July Celebrations
- Posted on: 07/01/2021
Fire Marshal Offers Guidelines and Encourages Residents to Attend Public Fireworks Displays
TRENTON, NJ – The New Jersey Division of Fire Safety Director and State Fire Marshal Richard Mikutsky is today issuing guidelines and cautioning residents about the use of ground-based sparkling devices and novelties in advance of the upcoming Fourth of July holiday.
“As we gather in celebration of the Fourth of July, Governor Murphy and I are urging New Jerseyans to always put safety first, especially when it comes to the use of fireworks,” said Lt. Governor Sheila Oliver, who serves as Commissioner of the Department of Community Affairs. “Please follow all recommended guidelines and exercise caution to ensure you and your loved ones stay safe.”
“The use of non-aerial and novelty fireworks, although now legal in New Jersey, are still very dangerous and should always be handled with extreme caution. They should never be in the hands of children, and that includes hand-held sparklers which can reach a temperature of 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit,” said State Fire Marshal Mikutsky. “Residents need to be aware of and understand the dangers before they buy ground-based devices and we will continue to recommend that people alternatively attend public firework displays that are handled by professionals.”
You can view and download a visual guide of which devices are legal and which are not on DCA’s website.
The State Fire Marshal joins with law enforcement, emergency medical personnel, hospital emergency rooms and state burn centers in advising against the use of sparkling devices and novelties and is instead encouraging people to attend permitted public fireworks shows in their area.
For people who decide to buy and use ground-based sparkling devices and novelties, NJDFS provides the following guidelines:
Small, Non-Aerial Sparkling Devices and Novelties Safety Guidelines
- Only buy from reputable outlets.
- Don’t buy if the packaging is damaged or appears tampered with.
- Don’t use or try to fix broken or “dud” devices.
- While non-aerial sparkling devices may be legal, they can still burn you. Temperatures of one sparkler can reach about 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit and are not intended for children.
- Never use these devices indoors.
- Always have water handy and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Wait 20 minutes to properly dispose of these devices.
Small, Non-Aerial Sparkling Devices and Novelties Safe Disposal
- Completely soak used devices and “duds” in a bucket of water and let soak overnight.
- Double-wrap soaked devices in plastic wrap or a plastic bag to help keep them from drying out.
- Place wrapped bags in regular household garbage.
Flame Jetting Warnings
Researchers at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) have documented the phenomena at testing laboratories and are issuing the following warnings:
The New Jersey Division of Fire Safety also wants to point out a relatively unknown, but extremely dangerous phenomena associated with fuel in open and unsecured containers. The risk increases in the presence of open flame cooking and fireworks, commonly associated with the July 4th holiday. Experts refer to the instances as “flame jetting” and it can occur with stored volatile liquids in necked containers in the vicinity of a flame source, such as a grill or a sparkler.
Almost any necked, portable, flammable liquid container with a flammable liquid can jet.
In addition to gasoline, common household flammable liquids include methanol, ethanol, acetone, and liquor above 150 proof.
Flame jetting is typically observed when the container is being tilted and vapors are pouring from the mouth of the container. This allows air to be captured in the top of the container, diluting the rich fuel vapors to flammable limits.
Flame arrestor caps (as pictured above) are highly effective in preventing flame jetting and typically cost about 50 cents each. In ATF testing, no flame jetting was observed in portable flammable liquid containers equipped with flame arrestors.To date this year, New Jersey has had no fireworks-related burns reported. In 2020, there were 325 burns reported and 21 of them were fireworks related.
The Division of Fire Safety serves as the central fire service agency in the state. The Division is responsible for the development and enforcement of the State Uniform Fire Code, as well as engaging the public on community risk reduction strategies, assisting in fire department preparedness and conducting firefighter training programs.
DCA offers a wide range of programs and services, including energy assistance, housing vouchers, affordable housing production, fire and building safety, community planning and development, local government management and finance, and disaster recovery and mitigation.