The Kansas Department of Health and Environment, Office of the State Fire Marshal and Safe Kids Kansas would like to share some important safety tips to ensure that all Kansans have a safe and fun Independence Day this year.
After a couple of difficult years, many Kansans are looking forward to an Independence Day holiday full of friends, family, food and fireworks. Make sure your gatherings are safe for everyone by following some safety recommendations for fireworks and outdoor grills.
In 2021, there were a total of 179 injuries caused by fireworks in Kansas. This is a slight decrease from 2020. The person igniting the firework was most likely to be injured, and the hands were the most common body part to be injured. Over half of the injuries that occurred from fireworks happened on the Fourth of July and most of those injuries were burns. There was a 78 percent increase in injuries from 2020 that occurred to those between the ages of 4 and 8. A significant increase in injures was also noted in ages 9 through 13. Mortars or artillery fireworks and smoke bombs caused the highest incidence of injuries. This data was collected through voluntary reporting from Kansas hospitals and administered by the Office of the State Fire Marshal.
“There is no such thing as a ‘safe’ firework for children,” said Cherie Sage of Safe Kids Kansas. “Even sparklers, which are commonly given to children, burn at a temperature hot enough to melt glass and can cause serious burns and eye injuries. A better idea is to give children glow sticks and watch fireworks from a safe distance.”
Grilling is another favorite part of many Independence Day gatherings. Make sure grills are used outdoors only, away from the home and deck railings, and out from under eaves and overhanging branches. Keep children and pets away from the grill area and never leave your grill unattended. Clean your grill regularly to prevent grease fires.
“It’s important for us as a community to be able to celebrate and have a good time with our family and friends responsibly,” Doug Jorgensen, State Fire Marshal, said. “Following these safety tips is the best way to ensure you and your guests stay safe this year.”
Other tips include:
- Have adults supervise around grills and fireworks
- Designate a child-free safety zone around grills and areas where fireworks are being lit
- Have a water supply ready
- Have a first-aid kit available and nearby
- Only ignite fireworks outdoors
- Light only one firework at a time
- Never try to re-ignite malfunctioning fireworks
- Never attempt to make your own fireworks
- Store fireworks in a cool, dry place
- Dispose of used fireworks carefully, as they may reignite
Bottle rockets are illegal and M80 type of “fireworks” are considered explosives, and it is a felony in Kansas to possess, manufacture or use, as well as being extremely dangerous. The use or sale of these banned fireworks and explosives is considered a crime under Kansas law. It is also illegal in Kansas to shoot fireworks on or under any vehicle, on any public roadway, within 50 feet of a fireworks stand or where fireworks are stored, and at gas stations or any place liquid gas – including propane – is stored.
Always refer to the local ordinances as to whether fireworks are allowed in your area as well as what types. Some cities or counties have restricted dates/times or types of fireworks that may be sold or discharged.
In addition, out of respect for veterans when it comes to the individual discharge of fireworks, please keep in mind the noise and stress (PTSD) your activities may cause near VA facilities.
For more information on fireworks safety, visit firemarshal.ks.gov/216/Fireworks-Safety or SafeKidsKansas.org.