The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE), 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.
In 2022, there were a total of 102 injuries caused by fireworks in Kansas. 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 that happened on July Fourth were from burns. There was a 43 percent decrease in reported injuries from 2021.
Each age group saw a decrease except for a slight increase in 0-3 year-olds. The highest incidents of injuries were caused by mortars or artillery fireworks and other fireworks like parachutes, fountains and spinning items. This data was collected through voluntary reporting from Kansas hospitals and administered by the Office of the State Fire Marshal.
“Remember that fireworks are explosives and should be handled with care,” Cherie Sage, director of Safe Kids Kansas, said. “Children should not light fireworks, including sparklers, which burn at a temperature hot enough to melt glass. We encourage parents to let their little ones use glow sticks instead of sparklers and leave the rest to grownups.”
Grilling is another favorite part of many summertime 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.
“We want everyone to have a fun and safe celebration on Independence Day,” Doug Jorgensen, state fire marshal, said. “Taking a few simple precautions if you’re lighting off fireworks or grilling can ensure that your family and friends are safe and injury free this fourth of July. If possible, go to a public fireworks display, and let the trained professionals handle the risks.”
Here are some tips to keep your celebrations safe:
- Have adults supervise children and pets around grills and fireworks.
- Designate a child-free safety zone around grills and areas where fireworks are being lit.
- Store fireworks in a cool, dry place.
- Fireworks should only be handled by adults. Consider giving children glow sticks, which also help you see little ones after dark.
- Have a water supply ready, such as a bucket of water or garden hose.
- Dispose of used fireworks carefully, as they may reignite.
- Keep a first-aid kit available and nearby.
- Ignite fireworks outdoors on a flat surface.
- Light only one firework at a time.
- Never stand over fireworks when lighting or holding a firework in your hand when lighting the fuse and wear eye protection.
- Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not ignited fully.
- Never attempt to make your own fireworks.
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/ or SafeKidsKansas.org.