Archive for Monday, June 28, 2010


A safer Fourth: Fireworks safety ensures everybody will enjoy their holiday

People sit in Constant Park downtown to watch the 2009 annual fireworks display put on by the Lawrence Jaycees.

People sit in Constant Park downtown to watch the 2009 annual fireworks display put on by the Lawrence Jaycees.

June 28, 2010


County fireworks ordinances

It is illegal to ignite, explode or use fireworks within the city limits of Lawrence at any time. In the unincorporated area of Douglas County, firework use is permissible from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. July 2-3 and from 7 a.m. to midnight July 4.

In the city of Lawrence, some novelty items are acceptable for neighborhood parades and family celebrations, according to the Lawrence Douglas County Fire Medical Department, including:

  • Party poppers: small items not more than .25 grains of explosive with a string protruding from the device that is usually pulled to ignite.
  • Snapper: small paper-wrapped item with no more than .02 grains of explosive that, when dropped, the device explodes.
  • Snakes, glow worms: produces a snake-like ash upon burning.
  • Sparklers: Wire or stick coated with pyrotechnic material that ignites to produce a shower of sparks (sparklers are only permitted in Lawrence June 27- July 5 as part of the state-permitted items).
  • Toy caps: toy plastic or paper caps for toys in sheets, strips, rolls or individual.
  • Toy smoke devices: produce smoke only and with a limited amount of pyrotechnic material.


Fireworks are fun and sparkly, and many people like to put on their own shows at home. But playing with consumer fireworks can be very dangerous and should only be used with extreme caution.

Lawrence Memorial Hospital emergency room physician Dr. Lisa Gard says most injuries caused by fireworks aren’t life-threatening but can be life-changing nonetheless.

“The most devastating injuries, I think, occur on the hand and the eye,” Gard says.

“Any kind of burn that takes place on the hand can permanently limit your mobility because the hand has such fine function. If you get a second-degree burn that takes off that first layer of skin, you can get scar tissue to where you cannot fully open and close your hand properly. And most people are (setting off fireworks) with their dominant hand, and that can permanently affect your ability to function.”

To avoid injury, Gard advises people never to throw fireworks and to use punks, instead of matches, when setting them off on the ground.

“The problem is you get too close and it can explode in your hand or eye. If it gets within the eye socket itself, it can detach the retina and cause blindness,” Gard says. “If it’s close enough to the ear and ruptures the eardrum, it can cause permanent hearing damage. And then the burns, anywhere on the body, obviously from a pain standpoint and the scars, are very devastating injuries we see.”

Gard recommends avoiding loose, baggy clothes when lighting fireworks.

“Clothes can actually catch fire, and you can get a topical or direct contact burn where the clothing will adhere to the skin,” she says.

Before you light up your neighborhood, check out these other safety tips from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (

  • Make sure fireworks are permitted in your state or local area. Many states and local governments prohibit or limit consumer fireworks.
  • Don’t allow young children to play with fireworks under any circumstances. Sparklers, considered by many a “safe” firework for the young, burn at very high temperatures and can ignite clothing. Children cannot understand the danger involved and cannot act appropriately in case of emergency.
  • Older children should only be permitted to use fireworks under close adult supervision. Do not allow any running or horseplay.
  • Light fireworks outdoors in a clear area away from houses, dry leaves or grass and flammable materials.
  • Keep a bucket of water nearby for emergencies and for pouring on fireworks that don’t go off.
  • Do not try to relight or handle malfunctioning fireworks. Douse and soak them with water and throw them away.
  • Be sure other people are out of range before lighting fireworks.
  • Never ignite fireworks in a container, especially a glass or metal container.
  • Keep unused fireworks away from firing areas.
  • Store fireworks in a dry, cool place. Check instructions for special storage directions.
  • Never have any portion of your body directly over a firework while lighting.
  • Don’t experiment with homemade fireworks.

McClatchy Newspapers contributed to this story.


gccs14r 7 years, 12 months ago

Some idiot in our neighborhood has decided that small pipe bombs are preferable to actual fireworks. We're hearing blasts that are low to the ground that shake the windows. We've heard two so far, in different areas of the neighborhood, so it's hard to pin him down. I hope he gets caught before he kills someone. If I knew where it was coming from, I'd have the cops all over him.

kernal 7 years, 12 months ago

By any chance do you live in Pickney neighborhood?

Danielle Brunin 7 years, 12 months ago

If Happy Fun Ball begins to glow or smoke, find sturdy shelter and cover head!

denak 7 years, 12 months ago

That wasn't reserved just for the guys. I remember doing that. Trust me, white girls can jump!

LadyJ 7 years, 12 months ago

So I take it the fireworks display is on the river this year, I don't see anything about it?

irvan moore 7 years, 12 months ago

i just heard on the news that the city commission decided to "not enforce" the city fireworks ban. hmmmm, fireworks sales go up, any connections?

greywolf85203 7 years, 12 months ago

I totally agree. Folks if the sales go up then there are benefits to EVERYONE. There was a photo posted of two little girls burning each other in a lower post. Don't blame the kids the parents or adults in charge are at fault for not taking control of their children's actions... Hmmm that sounds familiar

LadyJ 7 years, 12 months ago

What does that teach the kids? Either enforce it or change the law but don't have a law and then tell people it's ok to break. Just be considerate people, stop after 11 pm please.

redmorgan 7 years, 12 months ago

dude i started liteing my fireworks last weekend all ya old folks ned to get some earplugs

cowboy 7 years, 12 months ago

Were heading to the country , Lawrence ruined the fourth years ago.

Bombs away , have fun in town with your snakes and sparklers

Jonathan Fox 7 years, 12 months ago

I agree with cowboy, I will also be outside of town enjoying festivities the way the Fourth is supposed to be. Lawrence really did ruin the Fourth. Banning fireworks only ruins it for the people already being safe and courteous, not the trouble makers who will continue despite the ban, enforced or not.

gccs14r 7 years, 12 months ago

The ban is a good thing, even if 100% enforcement is impossible. For folks who don't remember what Lawrence was like in the two years just before the ban, it was a virtrual war zone. Multiple houses on a single block would band together and shoot commercial-grade munitions for hours on end, with this behavior repeated across the city, and probably half of the rest of the population would blow a week's grocery bill on more normal stuff. There would be a gray pall over the entire city afterward and mountains of spent fireworks would clog the streets and parks, sometimes for weeks afterward.

If people would set off residential-grade fireworks in a responsible manner from dusk to 10 p.m. on only the 4th and clean up after themselves, then maybe there would not be a need for a ban.

chzypoof1 7 years, 12 months ago

Get over it! It's the 4th of July, it's what we do. Why should we change a family tradition to appease the grouches like yourself.

By the way, since you are complaining....the ban has nothing to do with the's supposedly for safety.

Probably should ban driving cars bad....


greywolf85203 7 years, 12 months ago

My family was one of the families that would shoot for hours but we did clean up the mess that was part of the fun because we would use the hose and soke the remains and have a water fight then sweep it up. What you are talking about are the few that ruined it for the rest of us. I moved away and came back to find the town I grew up in to be a strange place. There have been too many changes and none for the better. I will be writing letters to City commision to plea for some changes to in a way turn back the hands of time. Not just the fireworks that is only ONE TIME A YEAR! But for other issues as well that have been changed.

workinghard 7 years, 11 months ago

I have seen tenants blow their rent money on fireworks and not pay their rent. I do remember the grey pall. I stepped outside to get something and ended up taking an ambulance to the emergency room. Do you know when you go to the ER for an asthma attack you must have testing (EKG) for a heart attack also. If this is true, maybe I'll start taking prednisone the day before just in case. Having that trip to the ER for an asthma attack really put a black mark on my medical records as far as insurance companies are concerned. They shouldn't be allowed to deny you insurance or double your rates for having asthma but they do.

rtwngr 7 years, 11 months ago

Every party needs a pooper that's why we invited you.

KUGreenMachine 7 years, 12 months ago, where are the fireworks this year???....and what time

kernal 7 years, 12 months ago

The fireworks are scheduled to begin at 9:45 pm. For more info, got to

mr_right_wing 7 years, 12 months ago

Celebrate your county's independence by blowing up a small part of it!!

greywolf85203 7 years, 12 months ago

The only reason they have banned fireworks is so that people will go to the city display and spend money with the vendors. As a child in lawrence we were allowed to shoot off our own fireworks. Some people still do. Honestly if its because of fires then people couldn't have fireplaces, gas furnances, grills, candles...... hmmm food for thought.

Bill Lee 7 years, 12 months ago

I support the fireworks ban and wish that it were strictly enforced. Don't give me any of that "family tradition" crap. I used to know a family who had a tradition of killing every cat they could get their hands on. Was that an excusable tradition? I think not. There was a time that some families had a tradition of lynching minorities. Admitedly these are extreme examples, but they were "traditions." Fireworks can be fun, but as long as they start fires and cause injuries, they should be either safely controlled or eleminated.

cowboy 7 years, 12 months ago

Other things that should be banned because they generate fires or injuries

alcohol bikes cars little league baseball mens softball dancing running lightning snow work being born pretty much everything

Wrap yourself in rubber and stay inside , it's dangerous out there in the scary world

Bill Lee 7 years, 12 months ago

When you've lost everything you own in a fire, I'll consider what you have to say. Until then, I'll ignore your silly reply to my post.

cowboy 7 years, 12 months ago

Equating fireworks to killing cats and lynching minorities is beyond "silly" Misterlee.

greywolf85203 7 years, 12 months ago

Actually misterlee I have lost everything in a fire due to a smoker. Now hows that for you? Banned doesn't solve the problem it just causes more people to want to do it. Example banning or outlawing drugs didn't stop it did it? Apparently you didn't have a happy childhood I feel sorry for you for that. Thank god we live in a free country. You have your opinion and I have mine. You will be unpleased to know I have already purchased my fireworks and will be out on family land in rural douglas county since our fine city officials kind enough to keep us from enjoying a joyous holiday in the city limits. FYI there are a dozen states that allow and sell fireworks year round. To all readers if you shoot of your own fireworks just like drinking or smoking be responisble. If you don't have fun spending money downtown... good luck finding parking too and they increased parking tickets to 3 dollars.

kernal 7 years, 12 months ago

Actually, a fine may make some consider the ban if the city is going to enforce the ordinance. Rest assured, if I see some moron parent letting their child under the age of six shoot off firecrackers, I will be on the phone to the LPD, ban enforcement or not. There's a difference between child endangerment and safe fun.

kernal 7 years, 12 months ago

If it's true the city is not going to enforce the fireworks ban, LMH should see an increase in business for the ER. Additional lincome is always good for our local hospital. What is the current cost for the ER?

Also wondering what the legal ramifications are for the City not enforcing the fireworks ban?

LJW, inquiring minds want to know.

Adrienne Sanders 7 years, 11 months ago

You're assuming the people who go to the hospital all pay their bill in full and/or have insurance.

workinghard 7 years, 11 months ago

LOL, the city commission, who was reported by a poster above as saying the ban wouldn't be enforced, has cancelled the meeting for tonight. So if anyone had objections, they won't be able to voice them in a public meeting. Kind of underhanded, don't you think? Was this discussed at any public meeting? Not arguing for or against fireworks, just how the commission is using their power.

Stanley Rasmussen 7 years, 11 months ago

Once again I will be taking my money to Franklin County and shooting off fireworks with my kids at my grandparents place. When Lawrence first considered this stupid ban, I asked the City Commissioners whether we would see reduced home insurance rates...nope; whether we would see a cost savings to the city from reduced police or fire calls.....nope instead we get more cost due to more enforcement. This is a stupid ban that needs to be repealed.

Adrienne Sanders 7 years, 11 months ago

I don't mind fireworks on the actual fourth, but a-holes in my neighborhood were already shooting off stuff last night, after midnight. I'm tired and cranky today thanks to them.

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