Celebrate Safely this Independence Day

 

Keep your holiday celebrations safe from fire and firework-related injuries

TOPEKA – The Kansas Department of Health and Environment, Office of the State Fire Marshal and Safe Kids Kansas would, again, like to remind Kansans of the importance of safety this Independence Day. Make sure your gatherings are safe for everyone by following public health guidance regarding COVID-19 and following safety recommendations for fireworks and outdoor grills.

In 2020, there were a total of 180 injuries caused by fireworks in Kansas.  This is an increase from 2019. The person igniting the firework was most likely to be injured and hands were the most common body part to be injured.  Over half of injuries occurred from fireworks happened on the 4th of July and most persons received burns. The majority of injuries occurred to those between the ages of 25 and 34; but there was also an increase in injuries to those between the ages of 45 and 54. The highest number of injuries were caused by mortars or artillery fireworks. 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,” said 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 4th of July gatherings. Make sure grills are used outdoors only, away from the home, 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.”

Other tips include:

  • Have adults supervise around grills and fireworks
  • Designate a child-free safety zone around grills and areas where fireworks are being ignited
  • Have a water supply near grills and fireworks
  • Have a first-aid kit on hand, and make sure its contents are updated and ready to use
  • 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 and M80s are illegal in Kansas and extremely dangerous. The use or sale of these banned fireworks 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 www.firemarshal.ks.gov/216/Fireworks-Safety or SafeKidsKansas.org.

For more information on COVID-19, visit www.kdheks.gov/coronavirus.

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