Staying Safe on the 4th
Photo by Ian Clark
With Fourth of July celebrations soon approaching, it's time to talk fireworks safety in Wichita. While shooting off fireworks is a treasured tradition, it requires caution. According to the State Fire Marshal of Kansas, hospitals reported 158 fireworks-related injuries in Kansas in 2014. Nearly half of these injuries occurred to children under the age of 18.
Fireworks Safety Tips
The Fire Marshals of both Sedgwick County and the State of Kansas, as well as the Wichita Fire Department, offer tips for fireworks safety:
- Only purchase high-quality fireworks from reliable and legitimate sources
- Wichita residents should only use fireworks sold in Wichita (others may be illegal)
- Never experiment or attempt to make your own fireworks
- Store fireworks in a cool, dry place
- Do not ignite fireworks indoors
- Keep fireworks away from grassy areas, trees and structures
- Light fireworks on gravel, concrete or a hard surface that will not ignite
- Do not light fireworks if it’s windy and/or there is a burn ban in effect
- Have a garden hose and/or bucket of water nearby to put out fireworks
- Never give fireworks to small children
- Older children and young adults should be monitored by an adult when handling fireworks
- Have an adult supervise all fireworks activities
- Use fireworks as they are designed to be used
- Always read and follow label directions
- Light only one firework at a time
- Never throw fireworks at other people
- Do not hold fireworks that have been ignited
- Never carry fireworks in your pocket
- Never shoot fireworks in metal or glass containers
- Never re-ignite malfunctioning fireworks
- Dispose of fireworks properly
Illegal Fireworks in Wichita
M80s, aerial lanterns (“sky lanterns”), bottle rockets and all other rocket-on-a-stick fireworks are illegal throughout the State of Kansas. Commercial-grade fireworks are illegal to possess or shoot, unless the proper licensed to do so has been acquired.
Additionally, approved fireworks in the City of Wichita can emit sparks no more than six-feet in any direction, and are not labeled as emitting flaming balls. (According to Wichita.gov as of 6/26/2014.)
Pet Safety on the Fourth
While Fourth of July fireworks may be fun for humans, unfortunately that’s not always the case with our pets. Many dogs and cats are frightened by the loud, unfamiliar noises and flashes of light. Even pets who have never shown the inclination or ability to escape the backyard may become frantic and run away...often leading to injuries, impoundments, traffic hazards, or even, sadly, the loss of the pet.
Play it safe by keeping pets indoors when fireworks are being shot. If they are afraid, a quiet interior room or kennel may help soothe their fears. There are also many calming products available, from diffusers and sprays to compression shirts, that many pet parents have found helpful.
Check Wichita Fireworks Laws
While there are state and county fireworks laws, Wichita has its own additional regulations about where and when fireworks can be purchased, the types of fireworks allowed, and the days and hours they may be shot. The same is true for other surrounding municipalities. Always check for the most current local regulations before purchasing or shooting fireworks.
For further information, including a list of approved fireworks in Wichita, visit Wichita.gov or contact Fire Prevention at (316) 268-4441.