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June 29, 2020 - New Jersey State Fire Marshal Urges Safe Use of Sparkling Devices and Novelties in Advance of the July 4th Holiday

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Monay, June 29, 2020

Fire Marshal Also Warns Residents of an Extreme Fire Hazard known as “Flame Jetting”

Trenton, NJ – The Murphy Administration and New Jersey Division of Fire Safety (NJDFS) Director and State Fire Marshal Richard Mikutsky remind New Jersey residents about the safe use of ground-based sparkling devices and novelties for the upcoming Fourth of July holiday. 

“Governor Murphy and I understand that people will want to celebrate our independence enthusiastically this Fourth of July, but we want residents to understand the dangers of using legal sparkling devices and novelties and how to handle them safely,” said Lt. Governor Sheila Oliver, who serves as Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA). “As we continue to face the COVID-19 public health emergency, we ask that people use extreme caution with these devices so as not to put additional stresses on our health care workers.” 

“The state legislature acted more than three years ago to loosen restrictions on the purchase and use of sparkling devices and novelties in our state. The current law restricts the use of aerial fireworks. However, ground-based, non-aerial sparkling devices and novelties are permitted but carry an inherent risk to adults and especially small children,” said Fire Marshal Mikutsky. 

You can view and download a visual guide of which devices are legal and which are not on DCA’s website

The State Fire Marshal joins with law enforcement, emergency medical personnel, hospital emergency rooms and state burn centers in advising against the use of sparkling devices and novelties. Previously planned public fireworks shows are permitted to resume in the State as long as they follow the Governor’s orders for social distancing guidelines for outdoor gatherings. Currently, the maximum number of persons permitted for outdoor gathering is 250 and individuals must wear face coverings and maintain at least six feet distance from each other. 

For people who decide to buy and use ground-based sparkling devices and novelties, NJDFS provides the following guidelines: 

Small, Non-Aerial Sparkling Devices and Novelties Safety Guidelines 

  • Only buy from reputable outlets.
  • Don’t buy if the packaging is damaged or appears tampered with.
  • Don’t use or try to fix broken or “dud” devices.
  • Don’t allow children to use. While non-aerial sparkling devices may be legal, they can still burn. Temperatures of one sparkler can reach about 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit and are not intended for children.
  • Never use these devices indoors.
  • Always have water handy and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Wait 20 minutes to properly dispose of these devices.

Small, Non-Aerial Sparkling Devices and Novelties Safe Disposal 

  • Completely soak used devices and “duds” in a bucket of water and let soak overnight.
  • 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.

Flame Jetting Warnings 

NJDFS also wants to inform the public about a relatively unknown, but extremely dangerous phenomena associated with fuel in open and unsecured containers. The risk increases in the presence of open flame cooking and fireworks, commonly associated with the July 4th holiday. 

Experts refer to this phenomena as “flame jetting,” which can occur with stored volatile liquids in necked containers in the vicinity of a flame source, such as a grill or a sparkler. 

Researchers at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) have documented the phenomena at testing laboratories and are issuing the following warnings:

  • Almost any necked, portable container with a flammable liquid can jet.
  • In addition to gasoline, common household flammable liquids include methanol, ethanol, acetone, and liquor above 150 proof.
  • Flame jetting is typically observed when the container is being tilted and vapors are pouring from the mouth of the container. This allows air to be captured in the top of the container, diluting the rich fuel vapors to flammable limits. 

Flame arrestor caps (as pictured above) are highly effective in preventing flame jetting and typically cost about 50 cents each. In ATF testing, no flame jetting was observed in portable flammable liquid containers equipped with flame arrestors. 

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.

For more information about DCA, visit https://nj.gov/dca/ or follow the Department on social media: