BERKELEY – During the last Township Council meeting before the July 4 weekend, a resident asked the governing body what they can do to prevent fireworks from going off throughout residential areas.
“It looks like a war zone,” resident James Sullivan said. He noted that it’s not all locals who are firing them off, but also people coming down for the weekend.
“I’m surprised there are not boat fires,” he said. People shoot them off over the water, and the sound is magnified by the water.
Capt. George Dohn said that the police have to see people lighting the fireworks in order to press charges. However, a witness can record it on their phone and email the video.
Anyone needing to report illegal fireworks is encouraged to call the police at 732-341-6600.
Mayor Carmen Amato said he’s not a fan of the legalization of these fireworks, and how easy it is to acquire them. He reminded people that if they want to see good firework shows, to come to the ones put on by the township. The dates are on the township’s website (twp.berkeley.nj.us). The next one is on September 10.
It becomes a quality of life issue as well as a safety issue, Sullivan said. He, Dohn, and Amato talked about finding scraps of plastic in their yards, and the sound terrifying kids and dogs.
According to the 2020 U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission Fireworks Annual Report, fireworks were involved in an estimated 15,600 injuries treated at hospitals in 2020. Of these, 900 were from sparklers.
The New Jersey Division of Fire Safety warned that even sparklers can reach about 1,200 degrees and are not intended for children. The following tips were provided:
- 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.