Summer brings many opportunities to enjoy a spectacular fireworks display in New Jersey. Holidays, shore towns, and amusement parks typically light up the sky between May and September with loud and colorful fireworks. While many people enjoy these events without incident, thousands of people are injured each year from these powerful explosives.
The national Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reported four deaths and over 1,000 injuries from fireworks in the year 2016. Thirty-one percent of these injuries were sustained by children under 15 years of age. The most serious injuries involved burns to the face, hands, head, eyes, and ears.
The National Fire Protection Association claims that Fourth of July celebrations result in more fires per year than during any other season. Fireworks cause close to 20,000 fires each year across our nation. Flying embers, malfunctioning equipment, and misfires ignite homes, trees, property, and motor vehicles, resulting in an estimated $43 million in damage.
New Jersey Laws on Fireworks
The New Jersey Explosives and Fireworks Act bans all possession, use, and sale of fireworks without a valid permit. A recent exception to the law now allows individuals 16 years of age and older to buy, possess, sell, or use some small handheld or ground-based novelty items such as sparklers, glow worms, smoke devices, party poppers, snappers, and drop pops.
Professional firework display companies are required to obtain a permit that is issued by the municipality where the fireworks display is scheduled to take place. To receive a valid permit, the company must apply in writing, post a bond, and be approved by the chief of police and fire department in the township. The permit must include an identification number and specify which types of fireworks are permitted.
New Jersey law enforcement officials confiscate thousands of fireworks each year that are being transported across the state and those that are being used illegally without a valid permit. Penalties for illegal transport, possession, usage, or sale of fireworks include confiscation, misdemeanor to fourth degree charges, and stiff fines.
Safety Tips to Enjoy New Jersey’s Firework Displays
There are several key precautions to take to ensure the safety of your family and friends during a firework event.
- Leave the fireworks to the professionals and avoid amateur displays.
- Keep young children away from fireworks; even seemingly harmless sparklers can ignite clothing or hair and cause significant burns.
- Ensure adult supervision whenever fireworks are being used.
- Be sure fireworks point away from people and crowds, and that wind conditions do not carry hot embers toward spectators.
- Buy only sealed packages of fireworks and avoid buying those wrapped in brown paper, which typically signals professional grade explosives.
- Light fireworks from a distance and never lean over to ignite an explosive.
- Refrain from trying to relight or handle a firework that has not functioned properly.
- Never light more than one firework at a time.
- Have a source of water nearby to handle small fires that can occur from hot embers and be sure to drench used fireworks before disposal.
Highland Park Personal Injury Lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr Represent Victims Injured by Fireworks
If you have been injured by a firework, call the Highland Park personal injury lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr at 877-249-4600 or 732-249-4600, or contact us online to schedule a consultation today. Our Highland Park, New Jersey offices serve clients in New Brunswick, Somerset, Piscataway, Edison, South River, Sayreville, Metuchen, East Brunswick, South Plainfield, Fords, Middlesex, Old Bridge, Iselin, Bound Brook, Perth Amboy, and Colonia.