Monday, June 30, 2014

COMMENTARY: Be aware of fireworks safety

KCK Fire Department

KANSAS CITY, KAN. ---- Just in time for the fourth of July, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) released its Fireworks report which explores fire and injury dangers related to consumer fireworks. 

The report shows that in 2010 alone, an estimated 15,500 reported fires were started by fireworks and 8,600 fireworks-related injuries were treated in U.S. hospital emergency rooms. 

It also shows that there are more fires on a typical Fourth of July than any other day of the year.  Fireworks account for two out of five of the fires, more than any other cause.

“Thousands of people are treated in U.S. emergency rooms each year because of incidents involving consumer fireworks and many times these injuries are extremely painful and require long-term recovery – using consumer fireworks is simply not the worth the risk,” said James Shannon, president of NFPA.  “We encourage families to enjoy public displays of fireworks conducted by trained professionals.”

The Fireworks report outlines specific statistics regarding how the use of consumer fireworks relates to fire danger including:
  • In 2011, fireworks caused an estimated 17,800 reported fires, including 1,200 structure fires, 400 vehicle fires, and 16,300 outside and other fires.
  • These fires resulted in an estimated eight reported deaths, 40 civilian injuries and $32 million in direct property damage. (
The report demonstrates using consumer fireworks heightens the risk of injury and even death.  The study showed:
  • The risk of fireworks injury was highest among young people 15 – 24, followed by children under the age of 10
  • Sparklers and novelties alone accounted for 25 percent of the 8,700 emergency room fireworks injuries in 2012.
Kansas City Kansas Fire Department offers the following Safety Tips:
  • Purchase fireworks from reliable sources, never discharge homemade or illegal fireworks.
  • Have a responsible adult in charge and never give fireworks to children.
  • Prepare a safe environment outdoors for shooting off fireworks by selecting an area clear of other fireworks, combustible materials like dried wood or grass, buildings, and other people.
  • Have water readily available such as a garden hose and a bucket of water.
  • Always read and follow label directions for the safe discharge of fireworks.  Fireworks users should wear tight clothing to avoid accidental contact with sparks and use eye protection when handling and lighting fireworks.
  • Light fireworks one at a time and wait until it discharges, never attempt to re-light a device that did not discharge the first time it was lit.
  • Never carry fireworks in your pocket; they may ignite due to sparks and cause injury.
  • Do not throw or point fireworks at people or animals.  Never shoot fireworks in metal or glass containers
  • Dispose of spent fireworks properly when you are done by soaking them in water before putting them in a trash can

Kansas City, Kansas Ordinance Sec. 15-91. Prohibited Fireworks

The sale, use, manufacture, storage, possession, and discharge of all pyrotechnic items not approved in section 15-90 are prohibited, except as otherwise provided in this article, including, but not limited to, the following items:

(1)    Bottle rocket. Any rocket mounted on a stick.

(2)    Sky rocket. Tube not exceeding one-half of an inch (12.5 millimeters) interior diameter that may contain up to 20 grams of pyrotechnic composition. Sky rockets contain a wooden stick for guidance and stability and rise into the air upon ignition. A burst of color, noise, or both is produced at the height of flight.

(3)    Missile-type rocket. A device similar to a sky rocket in size, composition, and effect that uses fins rather than a stick for guidance and stability and has a report.

(4)    Unmanned aerial luminary; sky, Chinese, or Kongming lantern; sky candle; or fire balloon. A device resembling a small hot air balloon, constructed of lightweight material which is capable of traveling through the air when powered by fire or a fuel cell until such fire or fuel cell deteriorates, causing such device to fall to the ground at an unknown location.

The Kansas City Kansas Fire Marshal asks that if any citizen witnesses the sale of illegal fireworks at any firework stand, to call and report the incident to the Fire Marshal at: