KANSAS (KSNT) – Independence Day is almost upon us, but the Kansas State Fire Marshal has a few reminders for you before the fuses are lit.
27 News spoke with Jill Bronaugh, the Public Information Manager with the Office of the State Fire Marshal, about safety tips and rules that people should follow leading up to July 4. Bronaugh also addressed some illegal fireworks which could lead to injuries and property damage if left unchecked.
Both M80 and bottle rocket fireworks are illegal to use in the state of Kansas. The use or sale of these types of fireworks is considered a crime under Kansas law. As to why M80s are considered to be so dangerous, Bronaugh told 27 News that these fireworks are actually considered to be explosives.
“It’s considered an IED, which is an improvised explosive device,” Bronaugh said.
Bottle rockets were also made illegal for the number of injuries they caused along with property damage.
“All of the regulations and rules and laws were put in place because of the danger factor and property factors,” Bronaugh said.
The 2021 Firework Injury Statistics report from the State Fire Marshal also showed some of the trends associated with the use of fireworks. The report indicated that a total of 179 injuries occurred through June and July in 2021, coming close to the 180 injuries recorded for 2020.
The hands were the most common body part to be injured by fireworks. Over half of them occurred on July 4. The State Fire Marshal reported a 78% increase in injuries from 2020 for children ages four to eight. The majority of injuries were caused by artillery fireworks, mortars and smoke bombs according to Bronaugh.
However, even commonly used fireworks for children, such as sparklers, can pose significant dangers to the user, nearby people and property.
“A lot of monetary damage can be done with just a tiny sparkler,” Bronaugh said. “It’s easy to give a sparkler to a child and a sparkler has a temperature when its lit of over 2000 degrees Fahrenheit. That can do a lot of damage if it’s not being monitored or supervised correctly.”
Some other safety tips that the State Fire Marshal encourages people to follow for Independence Day are:
- Always ignite outdoors
- Have an adult supervise all fireworks activities
- Have a water supply nearby
- Light from a solid, flat and stable platform
- Light only one firework at a time
- Make sure fireworks debris is cooled off completely before disposing
- Never re-ignite malfunctioning fireworks
- Store fireworks in a cool, dry place
- Use a long-handled lighter
Depending on where you live in Kansas, there might be additional rules regarding the use of fireworks as dictated by local ordinances.