Safety emphasized in handling fireworks this year

A public fireworks display is planned after the T-Bones game July 4 at CommunityAmerica Ballpark, 1800 Village West Parkway, Kansas City, Kan. There is an admission charge for the T-Bones game at 7:05 p.m. Another public fireworks display is planned about 9:45 p.m. July 3 at Pierson Park, South 55th and Douglas. This is a free community event sponsored by Turner Recreation Commission and the Unified Government. (File photo)

Maybe it was thunder you heard on Sunday, or maybe it was fireworks. But if it was fireworks, it was too early. Wyandotte County allows them to be discharged only between 9 a.m. and 11 p.m. July 2 to July 4.

It has been legal to buy fireworks since June 29 in Wyandotte County, with stands operating from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. through July 4. There are 42 licensed fireworks stands in Kansas City, Kan., this year, according to the Kansas City, Kan., Fire Department.

The Fire Department is encouraging fireworks safety for residents.

Public fireworks displays available here

The safest way to enjoy fireworks is to watch a professionally presented public display.

There are two public fireworks displays planned for Wyandotte County. Turner Recreation Commission and the Unified Government will sponsor a free professional fireworks display after dark July 3 at Pierson Park, South 55th and Douglas, Kansas City, Kan. It will start around 9:45 p.m. Residents are not allowed to bring any fireworks into the park.

A fireworks show is planned after the T-Bones’ game July 4 at CommunityAmerica Ballpark, 1800 Village West Parkway, Kansas City, Kan. The game starts at 7:05 p.m. July 4, and there is an admission charge. An appearance by the Falcon Skydiving Team is scheduled for the July 4 game. There also will be a fireworks display after the T-Bones doubleheader that starts at 5:05 p.m. July 5.

Fireworks resulted in increased fires, injuries

According to the Fire Department, the National Fire Protection Association has reported that in 2010, an estimated 15,500 reported fires were started by fireworks and 8,600 fireworks-related injuries were treated in U.S. hospital emergency rooms.

There were more fires on the Fourth of July than any other day, according to statistics, with fireworks causing two out of five fires, more than any other cause.

In 2011, fireworks caused an estimated 17,800 reported fires, including 1,200 structure fires, 400 vehicle fires, and 16,300 outside and other fires.

These fires resulted in an estimated eight reported deaths, 40 civilian injuries and $32 million in direct property damage, according to NFPA.

The NFPA urged people to watch public displays of fireworks by trained professionals.

Using consumer fireworks heightens the risk of injury and even death, the NFPA study said. The study showed:

• The risk of fireworks injury was highest among young people 15 – 24, followed by children under the age of 10.
• Sparklers and novelties alone accounted for 25 percent of the 8,700 emergency room fireworks injuries in 2012.

Safety tips offered

The Kansas City, Kan., Fire Department offered these safety tips:

• Purchase fireworks from reliable sources, never discharge homemade or illegal fireworks.

• Have a responsible adult in charge and never give fireworks to children.

• Prepare a safe environment outdoors for shooting off fireworks by selecting an area clear of other fireworks, combustible materials like dried wood or grass, buildings, and other people.

• Have water readily available such as a garden hose and a bucket of water.

• Always read and follow label directions for the safe discharge of fireworks. Fireworks users should wear tight clothing to avoid accidental contact with sparks and use eye protection when handling and lighting fireworks.

• Light fireworks one at a time and wait until it discharges; never attempt to re-light a device that did not discharge the first time it was lit.

• Never carry fireworks in your pocket; they may ignite due to sparks and cause injury.

• Do not throw or point fireworks at people or animals. Never shoot fireworks in metal or glass containers.

• Dispose of spent fireworks properly when you are done by soaking them in water before putting them in a trash can.

Some fireworks prohibited in Kansas City, Kan.

Kansas City, Kan., has banned several fireworks. A city ordinance lists the fireworks that are prohibited. They include: Bottle rockets, sky rockets, missile-type rockets, unmanned aerial luminary, sky, Chinese or Kongming lantern, sky candle or fire balloon.

The Fire Department spokesman said any residents who see the sale of illegal fireworks at any fireworks stand in the city may call and report it to the fire marshal at 913-573-5938.

– Information from Kansas City, Kan., Fire Department and other sources

About 42 licensed fireworks stands are in Wyandotte County this year.


You can help: Do good and feel good

by Cathi Hahner

The United Way office has recently had requests from people needing help with yard work because they are unable to do it themselves and simply cannot afford to pay the commercial rates. Nonprofits are also looking for that additional assistance to keep up with the facilities during the summer months. If you have a few extra hours to help, it would mean so much to these folks. You might consider doing it as a family group or a small group from church or work? Doing physical labor outside is a good way to not only do good for others but to do something very good for you.

You might start by looking around your neighborhood. Is there a neighbor too busy making ends meet, caring for a loved one or just physically unable to tackle the lawn and gardens? Maybe you and your family can help get the property in shape. You feel good because you helped someone; and you feel good because you got your hands dirty, a dose of vitamin D, burned up some calories and you improved the neighborhood. Not a bad exchange for a couple hours of work outdoors. You can also check with your neighborhood association. They might have some neighborhood work days planned. Neighbors working together to help each other and to help maintain common or public areas in the vicinity is a great way to build community.

The struggling nonprofits in our community often need the help of volunteers to do outdoors maintenance or help in the community gardens. Their facilities and grounds need to be kept risk free and inviting to the staff and clients. Check with your favorite non-profit to see if they need your help. You can also call me if you don’t know of a local non-profit.

The Boy Scouts have Camp Naish near Edwardsville. A facility that is big and used by many area Scouts always needs sprucing up. For more information on how you can help with projects go to www.hoacbsa.org/camping/maintenance team. They have a list of established work days.

For information on how you can give, advocate and volunteer, contact Cathi Hahner at 913-371-3674 or at chahner@unitedway-wyco.org. Visit the web site for volunteer opportunities at www.unitedway-wyco.org.

Cathi Hahner is the director of volunteer services at the United Way of Wyandotte County.

Little community garden a point of pride

A community garden at Grinter Chapel United Methodist Church produces lettuce that is often used for church dinners. (Submitted photo)

Window on the West
by Mary Rupert

Pat Spencer’s very proud of the little community garden she helped start three years ago at Grinter Chapel United Methodist Church, 7819 Swartz Road.

The garden has six raised beds and raises produce such as tomatoes, lettuce, spinach, kale, and radishes.

She pointed out the garden’s purpose is just to help, to reach out to the community and provide an activity and resource for people.

There isn’t enough produce, she said, to give away large amounts at a food pantry, especially this early in the year, but occasionally there is enough to give a little to those attending church, and to donate to a church dinner. The upcoming spaghetti dinner and silent auction from 2 to 6 p.m. Saturday, June 28, at the church will include salad ingredients raised in the church’s community garden. Admission is $8 for adults and $4 for kids under 10.

Spencer, 76, said she has help from a few 20-year-olds in the garden.

Always a gardener, Spencer has a home garden and flowers to take care of, too. She remembers growing up with a relative’s garden on 63rd Street. She moved a little further west about 45 years ago. It has been said that they received some tips from california listings lawn care companies to ensure that the garden thrives.

“We gardened when we were kids and had to,” she recalled. One relative had a garden about a block long. The youngsters were told to not eat all the strawberries in a family garden, she laughed.

Maybe several generations back, there might have been a family farm in Missouri, she said. Her dad was a mechanic who did not garden until he retired, then he had a backyard garden.

“I’ve always had a small garden,” Pat Spencer said. “I like to be outside working. I love the fresh produce.”

To reach Mary Rupert, editor, email maryr@wyandottepublishing.com.