OCEAN COUNTY – It’s fireworks season.
As the July 4th celebrations approach, the Ocean County Board of Chosen Freeholders is asking residents to celebrate the nation’s independence safely. Leave the fireworks to the pros.
“While they may be legal, sparklers and fireworks that are now available at many local stores are still dangerous,” Ocean County Freeholder Joseph H. Vicari said. “Even a sparkler burns at more than 1,000 degrees and can lead to serious injury.”
More than 12,000 persons across the country are injured from fireworks each year, according to federal statistics. Most of those injuries occur around this time of year.
“We have seen reports across the country of people who have seriously hurt themselves because the seemingly harmless firecracker they were holding suddenly exploded in their hand or near their face,” Vicari said.
And while some types of fireworks are now legally sold in New Jersey, others remain illegal to possess for anyone except licensed professionals.
“Many types of fireworks look like toys and are marketed towards children, when they are anything but for kids,” Ocean County Freeholder Director Virginia E. Haines said. “Be wise and do not travel out of state and buy fireworks that are otherwise unavailable in New Jersey.”
Anyone found with fireworks can face fines of up to $10,000 and 18 months imprisonment.
“If you attempt to use these illegal devices, you are going to get hurt,” Freeholder Deputy Director John P. Kelly, who is also Director of Law and Public Safety said. “When you light that fuse, you never know what is going to happen. A rocket can fly out of control and strike a child or land on a roof and start a fire.”
Many consumer-grade fireworks are made in China and are unreliable, Kelly added.
“Don’t risk injury to yourself or others,” Kelly said. “Let’s make sure everyone enjoys a safe and happy Fourth of July.”
A listing of professional fireworks displays is posted on the county’s tourism website at www.oceancountytourism.com.