Ocean County Press Release
LEAVE CELEBRATING FOURTH OF JULY WITH FIREWORKS TO PROS
TOMS RIVER – As Ocean County's communities prepare for the traditional Fourth of July celebrations, fireworks are once again a hot topic for the upcoming holiday weekend that celebrates the founding of our nation.
However, to safely enjoy the noise and kaleidoscope of colors, the Ocean County Board of Chosen Freeholders reminds residents to leave the fireworks to the professionals.
"Do not travel out of state and buy fireworks," said Ocean County Freeholder Director Joseph H. Vicari. "Many types of fireworks look like toys and are marketed towards children, when they are anything but for kids.
Possession of fireworks by anyone but a licensed professional is a disorderly persons offense, but possession with the intent to sell is a fourth-degree offense, with a possible maximum penalty of 18 months imprisonment and fines up to $10,000.
"Every year we hear reports about people being injured by illegal fireworks," Vicari said. "There is no reason anyone should risk setting off illegal fireworks with so many professional shows scheduled around the county."
A list of holiday fireworks shows is posted on the Ocean County Homepage at www.co.ocean.nj.us and the Ocean County Tourism website at www.oceancountytourism.com.
According to federal statistics, fireworks injure nearly 10,000 people every year throughout the United States. The vast majority of those injuries occur during the two weeks leading up to and following July 4.
"We have seen reports across the country of people who have seriously injured themselves because the seemingly harmless firecracker they were holding suddenly exploded in their hand or near their face," Vicari said.
With many towns in Ocean County hosting shows during the holiday weekend, Vicari warned that residents should leave their pets at home.
"Many dogs and other animals are terrified of the loud noises made by fireworks," Vicari said.
The Humane Society of the United States has released guidelines on how to protect animals during the holiday weekend:
• Resist the urge to take your pet to fireworks displays.
• Do not leave your pet in the car. With only hot air to breathe inside a car, your pet can suffer serious health effects – even death – in a few short minutes. Partially opened windows do not provide sufficient air, but they do provide an opportunity for your pet to be stolen.
• Keep your pets inside at home in a sheltered, quiet area. Some animals can become destructive when frightened, so be sure that you have removed any items that your pet could destroy or that would be harmful to your pet if chewed. Leave a television or radio playing at a normal volume to keep them company while you are attending Fourth of July picnics, parades, and other celebrations.
• If you know that your pet is seriously distressed by loud noises like thunder, consult with your veterinarian before July 4 for ways to help alleviate the fear and anxiety he or she will experience during fireworks displays.
• Never leave pets outside unattended, even in a fenced yard or on a chain. In their fear, pets who normally would not leave the yard may escape and become lost, or become entangled in their chain risking injury or death.
• Make sure your pets are wearing identification tags so that if they do become lost, they can be returned promptly. Animals found running at-large should be taken to the local animal shelter, where they will have the best chance of being reunited with their owners.
"By following these simple rules, we make sure the holiday is enjoyable for both our family and our pets," Vicari said.