Fireworks Safety Tips From NJ State Fire Marshal
New Jersey Division of Fire Safety (NJDFS) Director and State Fire Marshal Richard Mikutsky today issued fireworks safety tips, including the safe use of ground-based sparkling devices and novelties, in advance of the upcoming Fourth of July holiday.
“The Fourth of July is an opportunity to gather with family and friends to celebrate our country’s independence,” said Lt. Governor Sheila Oliver, who serves as Commissioner of the Department of Community Affairs (DCA). “If you choose to use legal ground-based fireworks, please follow all recommended guidelines and exercise extreme caution to keep you and your loved ones stay safe from injury.”
“To ensure a safe Fourth of July weekend, we strongly urge people to attend public firework displays that are handled by professionals,” said State Fire Marshal Mikutsky. “If you use non-aerial and novelty fireworks like sparklers, please remember they are very dangerous and should always be handled with extreme caution. Sparklers account for roughly one-quarter of emergency room fireworks injuries. We recommend glow sticks for children, which glow in the dark and are a safe alternative to sparklers.”
While non-aerial sparkling devices are legal in New Jersey, they can still burn people. The temperature of one sparkler can reach about 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit and is not intended for children.
You can view and download a visual guide of which devices are legal and which are not on DCA’s website.
NJDFS provides the following guidelines for those who decide to buy and use ground-based sparkling devices and novelties:
- Never use illegal fireworks.
- Only buy legal devices from reputable retail outlets.
- Don’t buy if the packaging is damaged or appears tampered with.
- Never use these devices indoors.
- Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks and only permit older children to use them under close adult supervision.
- Never use fireworks while impaired by drugs or alcohol.
- Anyone using fireworks or standing nearby should wear protective eyewear.
- Never hold lit fireworks in your hands.
- Only use them away from people, houses, and flammable material.
- Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
- Only light one device at a time and maintain a safe distance after lighting.
- Never ignite devices in a container.
- Do not try to re-light or handle malfunctioning or “dud” fireworks.
- Completely soak used devices and “duds” in a bucket of water and let soak overnight.
- Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose nearby to fully extinguish fireworks that don't go off or in case of fire.
- 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.
According to the 2020 U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission Fireworks Annual Report:
- Fireworks were involved with an estimated 15,600 injuries treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments during the calendar year 2020.
- Forty-four percent of the emergency department-treated injuries were burns. Burns were the most common injury to hands, fingers, arms, and legs.
- Young adults 20 to 24 years of age had the highest estimated rate of emergency department-treated, fireworks-related injuries (17 injuries per 100,000 people).
- There were an estimated 1,600 emergency department-treated injuries associated with firecrackers and 900 with sparklers.
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.