Wichita Fire Department (WFD) officials and Mayor Carl Brewer urged residents during a Monday morning news briefing to take precautions when shooting fireworks. With the Fourth of July holiday approaching, City officials warned residents about the added danger of hot and windy weather and encouraged them to follow the below safety tips:
- Keep fireworks away from grassy areas or structures;
- Do not light fireworks if it’s windy; consider attending a fireworks show;
- Use fireworks only sold in Wichita; others may be illegal;
- Place a garden hose and water bucket nearby to douse fireworks;
- Supervise children using fireworks and make certain youth are age-appropriate;
- Set a good example; use fireworks as they are designed.
In Wichita, fireworks may be lawfully sold between June 27 (Wednesday) through July 5 (Thursday) and legal shooting times for fireworks are from 6 a.m. until midnight.
“Buy only legal fireworks and use them in a safe manner,” WFD Chief Ronald D. Blackwell said. “This will reduce the likelihood of accidents and injury.”
The WFD and the Wichita Police Department (WPD) will enforce local fireworks laws. That includes issuing citations and confiscating illegal fireworks. Citations will result in a mandatory court appearance, a fine and possible jail time. Those convicted face up to $2,500 in fines and up to a year in jail. In 2011, there were four fire-related emergencies and more than 70 injuries to youth, men and women ranging from 19-months-old to 77-years-old. Fires caused $118,000.00 in property damage.
For additional information, please contact Fire Prevention at 268-4441. For a list of approved fireworks and additional safety tips, visit the Wichita Fire Department's web site at www.wichita.gov.