Montgomery area residents know fireworks are now legal in New Jersey, but many are still learning about what they can "launch" from their own backyards this Fourth of July.
Montgomery Township's Fourth of July fireworks on June 27 at Montgomery High School
New Jersey Fire Marshal Richard Mikutsky encourages people to attend public fire works displays, such as the one in Montgomery, in a memo to residents on July 2.
Thousands attended the Montgomery fireworks on a sweltering hot evening on Thursday, June 27, on the Montgomery High School front lawn — sponsored by the Montgomery Recreation Department. (See photo album below.)
“I would encourage residents to attend one of the many free public fireworks displays held around the holiday because the use of small, non-aerial fireworks, though legal now, can be an invitation to personal injury,” Mikutsky said.
He noted that he joins law enforcement, emergency medical personnel, hospital emergency rooms, and state burn centers in advising against the use of fireworks.
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“New Jersey modified its fireworks law in 2017, making the sale and use of non-aerial fireworks such as hand-held sparklers, smoke devices, and ground-based sparklers legal,” Mikutsky said.
In other words, sky rockets and bottle rockets remain illegal, unless used by a licensed professional. But, "ground-based sparklers up to 500 grams" are legal to use in the backyard.
Hand-held fireworks, such as "California Rockets," are also legal (under 500 grams of pyrotechnic mixture).
Mikutsky warns, though, that the personal use of any fireworks remains inherently dangerous, especially to small children, and carries the risk of burn injury and worse.
“The measured temperature of a small sparkler after ignition is nearly 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit," he said. "This high temperature represents a risk to anyone — child or adult — not taking extreme care in handling one.”
Other legal ground-based fireworks include: Smoke bombs, such as clay smoke balls; smoke candles; and smoke cones; Wire-stick sparklers; and Sparkling wheel devices.
New Jersey law strictly prohibits both the sale and use of any aerial explosive such as bottle rockets, firecrackers, and Roman candles, State Fire Marshal Mikutsky added. For more informaion, view or download a visual guide of fireworks legal in NJ.
For people who decide to buy and use fireworks, NJDFS provides the following guidelines:
Small, Non-Aerial Fireworks Safety Guidelines
Don’t buy if the packaging is damaged or appears tampered with.
Don’t use or try to fix broken or “dud” fireworks.
While non-aerial fireworks may be legal, they can still burn you.
Never use fireworks indoors.
Always have water handy and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
Never relight a “dud” firework.
Wait 20 minutes to properly dispose of fireworks.
Small, Non-Aerial Fireworks Safe Disposal
Completely soak used fireworks and “dud” fireworks in a bucket of water and let soak overnight.
Double-wrap soaked fireworks in plastic wrap or a plastic bag to help keep them from drying out.
Place wrapped bags in regular household garbage.
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 was established in 1967 and today 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.