Residents Warned Against Consumer Fireworks As Professional Displays Decline
Monmouth County officials remind everyone that consumer possession of fireworks is illegal in this state and to adhere to the outdoor watering ban. Meanwhile, higher costs are making it harder for professional fireworks displays to take place.
Emphasizing the county-wide water restrictions in place since Friday, Monmouth County officials took time on Sunday to remind residents of the state's fireworks laws, and the dangers that can come with consumer fireworks.
"With the Independence Day holiday upon us, it is important to understand the risks of illegal fireworks,” Freeholder Director John P. Curley said in a press release. “Our current water emergency makes this even more critical."
New Jersey American Water lifted the boil-water advisory for Aberdeen, Highlands, Holmdel and Middletown on Monday evening. However, the outdoor watering ban remains in effect. "With or without these firefighting water tankers it remains critically important for residents to adhere to the outdoor watering ban so there will be enough water pressure should there be a fire," Curley said in another statement on Monday.
New Jersey is one of five states (the other four being Delaware, Massachusettes and New York) that bans all consumer fireworks. Fireworks caused 15,500 reported fires in 2010 along with over 8,500 related injuries, according to the National Fire Protection Association. The only way New Jersey residents can legally enjoy fireworks is to attend a professional display. In recent years, however, these professional displays have been growing fewer and fewer.
The Matawan-Aberdeen area, for example, stopped having fireworks displays two years ago, and Fourth of July parades halted long before that (the Memorial Day Parade does remain). The last Independence Day fireworks over Lake Lefferts took place in 2009, despite annual rumors of their return. More recently, Red Bank's longstanding Kaboom! Fireworks display on the Navesink River was canceled earlier this year, after officials said rising costs could not be countered with the revenue gained from the event. This came in spite of it being the largest fireworks celebration in the state.
"Parades, community celebrations, Christmas displays, everything is looked at and can’t be a sacred cow in budgeting these days,” Executive Director of the New Jersey League of Municipalities Bill Dressel told the Asbury Park Press last week. “Can towns afford it when they are laying off a policeman or a public works employee or someone else?"
Several other Monmouth County towns are nevertheless managing to host fireworks displays this year. Starting tonight, fireworks will go off in Freehold, Keansburg and Hazlet, with more displays taking place tomorrow in Asbury Park, Long Branch and Ocean Grove. Atlantic Highlands will have fireworks on Friday, July 6.
The schedule for nearby fireworks displays can be viewed here.