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Wichita Police, Fire Units Urge Caution In July 4 Celebrations

fireworks_john_haslam.jpg
John Haslam, flickr Creative Commons
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Authorities say that caution needs to be part of Independence Day celebrations.

Though it is legal to use certain kinds of fireworks in Wichita, only those inspected and approved by the Wichita fire marshal and sold from the tents around the city are OK. Approved fireworks emit sparks no more than six feet in any direction, and are not labeled as emitting flaming balls.

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.

The Wichita Fire Department and Wichita Police Department 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.

Sedgwick County Emergency Communications will staff a non-emergency line for fireworks complaints from 6:30 p.m. until 3 a.m. on July 3-4. During non-operational hours, any calls to that non-emergency line will transfer to the 911 system.

The non-emergency phone number to use these nights will be 316-290-1011.

This piece originally aired July 2, 2015, during All Things Considered.