BELMAR, NJ — There’s no doubt that fireworks are fun to watch. And that’s exactly the point public safety officials are once again stressing during this year’s Fourth of July celebration — keep the fireworks themselves in the hands of the professionals.
In fact, that’s the only legal option in New Jersey where the personal use of any type of fireworks — even those harmless-looking sparklers — is prohibited.
“The result of fireworks being handled in the wrong way can cause serious injuries,” said Monmouth County Sheriff Shaun Golden. “It’s important to know that the danger is not only limited to general Fourth of July fireworks. Even sparklers should be kept away from children, as they can easily cause harm. Let the professionals handle the fireworks and celebrate America’s independence responsibly and safe."
During a two-week period in 2016, the Monmouth County 9-1-1 Communications Center received 193 calls related to fireworks before and after the Fourth of July holiday — an increase of 25 over the previous year.
In addition to personal injury, fireworks are also the major cause of fires around the Independent Day holiday every year, according to statistics provided by Belmar Fire Marshal Ryan Dullea. Here is a look:
- From 2009 to 2013, fire departments throughout the United States responded to an average of 18,500 fires caused by fireworks. These fires included 1,300 structure fires, 300 vehicle fires, and 16,900 outside and other fires. An estimated two people were killed in these fires.
- Twenty-eight percent of fires started by fireworks during the same five-year period were reported on July 4.
- Nearly one-half of reported fires on the holiday were started by fireworks.