Kansas Agencies Issue Vital Fireworks Safety Tips Amid Rise in Injuries and Legal Concerns

By Trish Svoboda

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE), Office of the State Fire Marshal (KSFM), and Safe Kids Kansas aim to promote a safe Independence Day this year with essential safety tips.

In 2023, Kansas recorded a total of 146 fireworks-related injuries. The majority of injuries occurred to the person igniting the fireworks, with hands being the most commonly affected body part. Burns accounted for over half of the injuries on July Fourth. There was a 43% increase in reported incidents compared to 2022.

Except for two age groups, all age brackets experienced an increase in injuries. The 14-18-year-old group saw injuries more than double. The majority of injuries resulted from mortars, artillery fireworks, as well as other types like parachutes, fountains, and spinning items. This data was gathered through voluntary reporting by Kansas hospitals and managed by the Office of the State Fire Marshal.

Grill safety is also important. Ensure grills are used exclusively outdoors, away from the house and deck railings, and clear of eaves and overhanging branches. Keep children and pets at a safe distance from the grill area and never leave it unattended. Regularly clean your grill to prevent grease fires.

In Kansas, bottle rockets are prohibited, and M80-type “fireworks” are classified as explosives, posing a severe danger. Possession, manufacture, or use of these items constitutes a felony under state law. In addition, it is illegal to discharge fireworks on or under vehicles, on public roadways, within 50 feet of fireworks stands or storage areas, and near gas stations or places storing liquid gas such as propane. Find more information about firework safety by visiting firemarshal.ks.gov/216/ or SafeKidsKansas.org.

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