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Be careful and courteous
Remember, the Fourth of July is a time for celebration
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 Monday will be the Fourth of July, and many will celebrate our nation’s Independence Day by shooting off fireworks.

However, these celebrations can turn disastrous if caution is not taken with firecrackers. 

There has been some good news, the Kansas Fire Marshal’s Office reported. Fireworks-related injuries dropped from 161 in 2014 to 137 reported injuries in 2015. While instances of traumatic amputation dropped from 10 to two, more injuries required burn center treatment or surgery than in 2014. Injuries to hands were involved in 70 percent of cases in which the injured party was lighting or operating fireworks, while injuries to the head or eyes occurred in nearly 60 percent of cases involving bystanders. 

“While shooting your own fireworks can be a thrill, they can also cause serious injuries and fires if not handled properly,” said Fire Marshal Doug Jorgensen. “The safest approach to enjoying fireworks is to visit public fireworks displays conducted by trained professionals who know how to properly handle fireworks. We want all our Kansas kids to enjoy this Summer’s fun and festivities as safely as possible.”

To help the public celebrate safely, the Office of the State Fire Marshal offers the following tips for the safe use of fireworks:

• Always purchase high quality fireworks from reliable and legitimate sources

• Always read and follow label directions

• Have an adult supervise all fireworks activities

• Always ignite fireworks outdoors

• Have water nearby

• Never experiment or attempt to make your own fireworks

• Light only one firework at a time

• Never re-ignite malfunctioning fireworks

• Never give fireworks to small children

• Store fireworks in a cool, dry place

• Dispose of fireworks properly

• Never throw fireworks at another person

• Never carry fireworks in your pocket

• Never shoot fireworks in metal or glass containers

In addition, bottle rockets and M80s are dangerous and illegal in the state of Kansas. The use or sale of these banned fireworks is considered a crime under Kansas law.

A couple more things also need to be remembered.

Folks should check on the rules and laws where they live before lighting that first fuse to make sure they are in compliance. It is important to be courteous to those around us and no one wants a citation from a law enforcement officer.

Also, if you make a mess shooting off fireworks, clean up after yourself. It looks pretty trashy driving down our streets littered with spent firecrackes, Roman candles and other debris.

We are celebrating our freedom as Americans, not competing to blow up the most stuff. 

Dale Hogg