Lee's Summit Journal

Love fireworks? Don’t be one of the thousands injured by them this year

Sparklers may seem harmless, but they’re on the list of fireworks most likely to cause injury.
Sparklers may seem harmless, but they’re on the list of fireworks most likely to cause injury. File photo

It’s the time of year when we celebrate the Fourth of July be setting off consumer fireworks. Some may consider fireworks a harmless party favor, but in reality they are explosives in fancy packaging that can do great harm to life and property if not used responsibly.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that in 2017, about 12,900 people were treated in hospital emergency rooms for injuries associated with fireworks. Most of the injuries involved hands and fingers, the head (including face, eyes, and ears), legs and arms. Children under the age of 15 accounted for 36 percent of the estimated injuries.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, sparklers were responsible for roughly one-quarter of all emergency room fireworks injuries.

In Lee’s Summit, residents with a city permit may shoot approved fireworks on July 2 and 3 between the hours of 10 a.m. and 11 p.m., and on July 4 between the hours of 10 a.m. and midnight.

In order to discharge consumer fireworks on the approved dates within the city, a “2019 Lee’s Summit Fireworks Permit” is required for each household. A permit can be obtained at City Hall, one of the authorized fireworks tents or it can be downloaded at cityofls.net. The permit is free of charge and provides specific guidelines for fireworks use. Make sure that any fireworks purchased outside of the city are legal to be used and you have a permit.

The City’s ordinance allows the possession and use of certain approved consumer fireworks within the city limits. Consumer fireworks that are not allowed include: rockets on a stick (bottle rockets); missiles with fins or rudders for aerodynamic flight; roman candles and parachutes that suspend illuminated materials. Although not a firework, the use of sky lanterns is also prohibited.

The safest way to enjoy fireworks is to attend one of the many professional fireworks displays in the area, such as Legacy Blast on July 3 at Legacy Park in Lee’s Summit.

If you do decide to use consumer fireworks this year, please remember to properly clean up the mess afterward, be courteous to neighbors and follow these safety tips:

▪ Make sure the fireworks are legal before buying or using them.

▪ Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks, including sparklers. Wear shoes.

▪ Always have an adult closely supervise fireworks activities if older children are allowed to handle devices.

▪ Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse. Back up to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks.

▪ Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire or other mishap.

▪ Keep pets indoors.

▪ Never try to relight or handle malfunctioning fireworks. Soak them with water and throw them away.

▪ Never point or throw fireworks at another person.

▪ Light fireworks one at a time, then move back quickly.

▪ Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers.

After fireworks complete their burning, douse the spent device with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding the device to prevent a trash fire.

Author Jim Eden is Assistant Chief of the Lee’s Summit Fire Department. He is a guest author for the Lee’s Summit Health Education Advisory Board, a mayor-appointed, volunteer board that promotes and advocates community health by assessing health issues, educating the public and government agencies, developing plans to address health issues, encouraging partnerships and evaluating the outcomes.

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