Letter to Editor: Fireworks Are Illegal for Good Reason
Paul Anselm, a former fire chief and fire marshal, has witnessed the aftermath of maimings.
To the editor,
The National Fire Protection Association has just issued its annual warning associated with the use of fireworks. This warning has been issued to people just like you — grandpops, dads, brothers and, in some cases, the female side of the families— who amuse their families with fireworks during the Fourth of July celebrations.
Most of us listen to the fireworks warnings, but unfortunately only those of us who care actually hear the warnings. Did you know that sparklers burn at about 1,800 degrees fahrenheit?
I have a career in the fire safety field that covers more than 60 years. This career included duties as fire chief, fire marshal, emergency management director and the president of a fire safety incorporation in the State of New Jersey. During this career I have investigated uncountable fireworks incidents that have resulted in the loss of fingers, ears, eyes, limbs and even genitalia and, yes, of course, death.
I have seen appointments to military academies ended on high school graduation day when fingers have been destroyed by the simple act of throwing a 2-inch salute to celebrate the graduation. I have even witnessed the grief of parents in the hospital who realized that they were responsible for their child’s injuries by bringing the fireworks back from Southern states where the use and sale is legal.
The use of fireworks in New Jersey and most surrounding states is illegal and has been in effect for many years. For a responsible person to condone the use of fireworks to celebrate the Fourth of July, high school graduations, birthdays or whatever, is total irresponsibility on their part.
The law, in most cases, is quite clear. In a legal fireworks display, the cleanup of the area surrounding the display is the responsibility of the “shooter” and is enforced by local authorities. A simple walk on our beaches or even the alleys of “our Ocean City” after past celebrations should surely convince all, that the unexploded fireworks left on these areas do present a hazard to our children.
As a parent, grandfather, great grandfather and a fire safety expert I do not understand the mindset of those who condone the illegal use of fireworks.
It’s just an accident waiting to happen.
Paul S. Anselm