There’s good news this fireworks season — Newton Fire/EMS has not treated any fireworks injuries, or taken any firework-related calls in the first five days of the fireworks season.
“We have had absolutely no firework injuries," said Cory Lehman Division Chief for the Newton Fire/EMS department. "It has been pretty vanilla so far."It was only a few years back that one Newton man was taken to a Wichita hospital with a hand injury after a fireworks accident. "That was two years ago, it does not seem like that long ago," Lehman said.
There were more than 200 fireworks related injuries in the state last year, according to The Kansas Department of Health and Environment, Office of the State Fire Marshal and Safe Kids Kansas.
Out of 207 reported fireworks-related injuries in Kansas in 2018, males between the ages of 9 and 34 were the most commonly injured demographic, according to the 2018 Kansas Fireworks Injury Survey. Males represented 64 percent of the total number of injuries. Nearly half of the injuries involved children under the age of 18. Hands, eyes, face and head injuries were among those reported.
“Hand injuries are the most common injury seen in Kansas, at 34 percent,” Cherie Sage, Director of Safe Kids Kansas, said. “It’s really important for little hands to not light fireworks. This includes 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.”
The data was collected through voluntary reporting from Kansas hospitals and administered by the Office of the State Fire Marshal.
“We want all Kansans to have a fun, safe Fourth of July,” Doug Jorgensen, fire marshal for the state of Kansas, said. “We know the safest way to enjoy fireworks is to visit public fireworks displays conducted by trained professionals who know how to properly handle fireworks. If you are going to purchase and partake in consumer fireworks, a few simple precautions can prevent you or your loved ones from becoming one of these statistics.”
Jorgensen added that always using a long-handled lighter to ignite fireworks, lighting from a solid, flat and stable platform and making sure fireworks debris has cooled off completely before disposing, are tips that can significantly lower the risk of injuries and fires.
“It’s everyone’s responsibility to ensure a safe and healthy holiday,” Lee Norman, Secretary of KDHE, said. “Having a water supply handy, being prepared with first aid kits and following the laws and safety protocols are just a few ways Kansans of every age can come together for a great, safe Fourth of July.”
Other tips include:
• Have an adult supervise all fireworks activities
• Always ignite fireworks outdoors
• Light only one firework at a time
• Never re-ignite malfunctioning fireworks
• Store fireworks in a cool, dry place
Bottle rockets and M80s are illegal in Kansas. 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.
Each municipality sets the dates and times for fireworks discharge. In Newton, fireworks discharge will be allowed through midnight July 4.