TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – Local governments make their own rules for when and where fireworks can be sold and shot off, but there are certain rules that apply throughout the state.
The Kansas State Fire Marshal’s Office has a lot of work this time of year.
“We stay really busy until about the 5th, 6th of July, then it drops back down,” said Chief of Investigations for the office Wally Roberts.
They’ve been working since early June to approve permits to sell fireworks and check stands across the state.
“Everything is highly regulated, as you can imagine everything has to have the numbers on it to prove that it’s been inspected,” said Topeka fireworks stand owner Billy Tomlin.
Bottle rockets are one item the office keeps an eye out for, which have been banned in the state for decades. They’re also looking for other, more powerful, explosives.
“The big one is the homemade fireworks, you mentioned M-80’s, those are illegal, highly illegal throughout the United States, we do come in contact with those here in Kansas once in a while,” said Roberts.
Making your own fireworks without a permit in the state, or making changes to fireworks is also illegal.
“People do things with the fireworks, they’ll manipulate them, they’ll take them apart to make them bigger, better, louder, and when they do that, sometimes there will be an accident and they’ll get injured,” said Roberts.
“We’ll go out and investigate the injuries to see what occurred and to educate folks to make sure that doesn’t happen again,” he said.
Tomlin has been running his fireworks stand for more than a decade. He said people need to use caution when using fireworks.
“After 13 years I can say you just never know what’s going to happen, even the most safe firework, I’ve seen them do crazy things, don’t play around with them guys, don’t experiment with them, don’t tweak them,” said Tomlin.
Last year, 207 firework related injuries were reported in the state.
Officials recommend to always have an adult around with children that are using fireworks, use a flat surface, and try using a long handed lighter when igniting fireworks.
Regulations are also in place for large firework shows like at lakes and events. People must have a display operator permit for shooting off fireworks there.