Each year firefighters and emergency medical personnel, along with hospital emergency rooms, must deal with the devastating consequences of fireworks accidents. Fireworks lead to numerous injuries and fires every year. Along with causing injuries and fires, incidents involving fireworks can lead to criminal charges and civil penalties.
In 2011, fireworks caused an estimated 17,800 reported fires, including 1,200 total structure fires, 400 vehicle fires, and 16,300 outside and other fires. These fires resulted in an estimated 40 civilian injuries and $32 million in direct property damage. On July 4th in a typical year, far more U.S. fires are reported than on any other day, and fireworks account for two out of five of those fires, more than any other cause of fires.
In 2013, U.S. hospital emergency rooms treated an estimated 11,400 people for fireworks related injuries; 55% of those injuries were to the extremities and 38% were to the head. The risk of fireworks injury is highest for young people ages 0-4, followed by children 10-14.
The use of fireworks of any type, even sparklers, is illegal in the state of New Jersey without a permit. The possesion of fireworks is a disorderly persons offense and possession with the intent to sell can lead to 18 months in jail and up to $10,000 in fines. New Jersey is one of only 4 states that has outlawed the use of fireworks by the general public.
The National Fire Protection Association has provided useful information on the dangers of fireworks. You can find this information by visiting the association's website at www.nfpa.org/fireworks.