Fireworks legislation

22 Mar 2019 | 09:07

    TRENTON – The state will have a record of all injuries caused by fireworks under legislation up for a vote in the Assembly on Monday. The bill (A4540), sponsored by Assemblyman Anthony M. Bucco, a member of the State Fire Commission, requires hospitals and clinics to report fireworks-related injuries to the state fire marshal in the Department of Community Affairs.
    With increased access to fireworks, New Jersey residents are more at risk for injury. There is currently no comprehensive documentation on fireworks-related injuries in the state.
    “There has been an explosion of sales as a result of lifting the ban on some fireworks,” said Bucco (R-Morris). “As more people are using them, we need to know how many more injuries are caused. Otherwise, we will never know the real impact that lifting the ban has had on our residents.”
    The state fire marshal will be responsible for issuing an annual report on injuries that lists data by county and type of firework.
    New Jersey had been among only a few states with a blanket ban — not counting approved public displays — but the law was modified in 2017 to allow "non-explosive, non-aerial fireworks," such as sparklers and party poppers.
    The products, which are now legal, are not risk-free. Sparklers can reach a temperature of 1,200 degrees and are capable of inflicting third-degree burns and eye injuries, according to the state Department of Consumer Affairs.
    "While aerial fireworks are still illegal, it is important to remember that all fireworks are inherently dangerous,” said Bucco (R-Morris). “They can burn people, animals, and property.”
    The federal Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that 8,500 people in the U.S. are treated in emergency departments each year for fireworks-related injuries. Forty percent of injuries occur in children 14 and younger.
    The bill, which is modeled on a similar law for injuries caused by firearms, unanimously cleared the Assembly Homeland Security and State Preparedness Committee on March 11.