With Fourth of July activities approaching, City of Wichita Police and Fire officials on Friday encouraged residents to be cautious with fireworks. Local fireworks tents open for business on Saturday and will stay open until July 5.
“All of the fireworks tents and their contents have been inspected and approved by Wichita Fire Department (WFD) officials” Wichita’s Fire Marshal Brad Crisp said. “We want to ensure residents are buying only those fireworks tested and approved by the WFD.”
If residents witness illegal fireworks in use, but there is no emergency, such as a fire or injury, please call 290-1011 on July 3 and 4. If residents believe there is an emergency, please call 9-1-1 immediately.
Last year, Wichita Police and Fire units responded to 13 fire and explosion calls, while area hospitals treated 32 people for various fireworks related injuries. Police and Fire units also received 705 fireworks related complaints from June 27 through July 5 last year.
“We want people to celebrate the Fourth of July in a safe way” said WPD Lieutenant James Espinoza. “Be respectful of your neighbors and help us help you.”
Police and Fire officials offered the following safe tips:
• Use only fireworks sold in Wichita (others may be illegal);
• Keep fireworks away from grassy areas or structures;
• Do not light fireworks if it’s windy;
• Place a garden hose and/or water bucket nearby to douse fireworks;
• Closely supervise children using fireworks;
• Set a good example: use fireworks as they are designed to be used;
The WFD and WPD will enforce local fireworks laws, which can include the issuing of citations and confiscating illegal fireworks. Citations will result in a mandatory court appearance. Those convicted face up to $2,500 in fines and possibly up to a year in jail.
You can also celebrate the holiday by attending the Independence Day Block Party from noon until 10:30 p.m. on July 4 in downtown near the Arkansas River. For additional information, including a list of approved fireworks, please contact Fire Prevention at 268-4441, visit www.wichita.gov, or find the WFD on Facebook.