Kansas Fire Marshal issues warning regarding colored powders used in popular events

TOPEKA, Kan. - Last month, about 500 people in Taiwan were injured and burned when a fireball engulfed a crowd. According to a news release from the Office of the Kansas Fire Marshal, the flames were caused by the ignition of colored powders that were sprayed over the crowd.

The Office of the Kansas Fire Marshal wants to offer safety tips to ensure similar events planned in Kansas are safe.

The fire marshal said the dust generally used is commonly colored cornstarch and it isn’t normally combustible, but it can burn or explode in the right conditions.

Possible ignition sources include:

  • Open flames and sparks
  • Electrical equipment
  • Hot surfaces
  • Static electricity

The Office of the Kansas Fire Marshal contacted The Color Vibe, the organizer of the Color Vibe 5K Run in Wichita Aug. 1, and received safety measures and protocols it uses at events:

  • No electrical devices to distribute the powder
  • The powder has been tested for safe public use
  • A gap is required between stages and the public
  • Smoking is prohibited in the festival area

The Office of the Kansas Fire Marshal said most events have enough powder in the air to create a fire hazard, yet few fires such as the one in Taiwan occur.  

The office said event organizers should take necessary precautions to ensure their events are as fire-proof as possible.


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