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For Immediate Release
December 23, 2019

STATE DIVISION OF HOMELAND SECURITY AND EMERGENCY SERVICES URGES CAUTION WHEN HANDLING SPARKLING DEVICES DURING NEW YEAR’S EVE

All Other Types of Consumer Fireworks, Including Firecrackers, Bottle Rockets, Roman Candles, Spinners and Aerial Devices, Remain Illegal Statewide

The New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services’ Office of Fire Prevention and Control today urged New Yorkers to handle sparkling devices responsibly when celebrating on New Year’s Eve. Under New York law, sales of sparkling devices by certified permanent and specialty retailers can only occur between December 26 to January 2, as well as between July 1 and July 5. According to the National Fire Protection Association, fireworks and sparkling devices start an average of 18,500 fires per year, including 1,300 structure fires, 300 vehicle fires, and 16,900 outside and other fires. These fires caused an average of three deaths, 40 civilian injuries, and an average of $43 million in direct property damage. Further, the federal Consumer Product Safety Commission’s most recent data estimates about 12,900 people were treated in hospital emergency rooms for injuries associated with fireworks in 2017.

New York State Homeland Security and Emergency Services Commissioner Patrick A. Murphy said, “As New Yorkers come together with friends and family to celebrate the end of 2019 and start of 2020, it’s critical those who choose incorporate sparking devices into their festivities do so in a safe and responsible manner. These devices can burn at temperatures as high as 2,000 degrees, creating the potential for serious injuries if mishandled. I urge all New Yorkers to leave the fireworks to the professionals, and if you do choose to use sparklers, please do so with extreme caution.”

If you plan to use sparking devices to celebrate the new year, State Fire officials recommend that you use these devices outdoors away from combustible materials such as housing, garages, sheds, dumpsters and vehicles. New York State Law allows for the sale and use of a specific category of consumer fireworks known as sparkling devices. Legal ground-based or handheld sparking devices produce a shower of colored sparks or a colored flame, audible crackling or whistling noise and smoke. The devices do not launch into the air. As of today, these devices are legal in all counties except Bronx, Columbia, Kings, Nassau, the City of New York, Queens, Richmond, Schenectady and Suffolk. All other types of consumer fireworks including firecrackers, bottle rockets, roman candles, spinners and aerial devices, remain illegal statewide. Sellers, manufacturers and distributors of sparkling devices must apply for a license from the State Office of Fire Prevention and Control and follow other rules and conditions.

“If your New Year’s Eve celebration includes the use of sparkling devices, we urge you to handle them with extreme caution since these devices burn at 1,200 degrees and can cause third-degree burns,” said State Fire Administrator Francis Nerney. “Only use these devices outside away from any combustible material and never allow children to handle sparkling devices.”

If sparkling devices are legal to purchase in your county, the Office of Fire Prevention and Control offers the following safety tips:

  • Purchase sparkling devices and novelty devices from New York State registered retailers only
  • Always follow the directions located on the packaging
  • Never allow young children to handle fireworks or sparkling devices (It is illegal for anyone under 18 years old to use sparking devices)
  • All sparkling devices are for outdoor use only, never use indoors
  • Always wear eye protection when using sparkling devices
  • Never light more than one sparkling device at a time
  • Never point a sparkling device tube towards anyone or any part of your body
  • Keep sparkling and novelty devices in a safe secure location when not in use
  • Never use sparkling devices when under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Always keep an approved fire extinguisher nearby during a display
  • Douse malfunctioning and spent devices with water before discarding to prevent a fire
  • Store sparkling devices in a safe location away from young children
  • Keep unused sparkling devices dry and away from ignition sources

For more information on the sale and use of sparkling devices in New York State, visit the Office of Fire Prevention and Control website.

About the State Office of Fire Prevention and Control

The Office of Fire Prevention and Control delivers a wide breadth of services to firefighters, emergency responders, state and local government agencies, public and private colleges, and the citizens of New York. The office advances public safety through firefighter training, education, fire prevention, investigative, special operations and technical rescue programs. The delivery of these essential services enables the office to make significant contributions to the safety of all of New York State.

About the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services

The Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services (DHSES) provides leadership, coordination and support for efforts to prevent, protect against, prepare for, respond to, and recover from terrorism and other man-made and natural disasters, threats, fires and other emergencies. For more information, visit the DHSES Facebook page, follow @NYSDHSES on Twitter, or visit dhses.ny.gov.

 

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