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Central Jackson County Fire offers tips to stay safe with fireworks on 4th of July

Cornerstone Church fireworks tent Central Jackson County Fire Protection District
Posted at 6:28 PM, Jul 02, 2024

BLUE SPRINGS, Mo. — The Fourth of July is always a busy day for fire departments across the United States.

“I don’t think we dread it, but we are anticipating a higher call volume for that day,” said Nathan Manley, deputy chief of administration with the Central Jackson County Fire Protection District. “We’re more alert and more ready to handle those kinds of incidents. It just comes with the day that we just are expecting that we’re going to be a little bit busier.”

Manley said a perfect Independence Day would involve no fire calls and no EMS calls for burns or other injuries, as unlikely as that seems.

“Last year, we had several fires we attributed to fireworks, and we had nine EMS calls that we were able to relate directly back to fireworks as well,” he said.

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Nathan Manley

Manley offered several tips on behalf of the Central Jackson County Fire Protection District to avoid a mishap and ensure a safe Fourth of July.

“We ask that if you are discharging fireworks that you have an open space to light them, that you set them on the ground and don’t hold them in your hand,” he said. “Light them, back away, make sure that you’re not in close proximity. If they fail to ignite, don’t try to reignite them. Make sure you’ve got a bucket of water or a hose nearby. That way, if there are any mishaps, those can be addressed immediately.”

Manley also cautioned against allowing children, especially young children, to handle sparklers.

“Those sparklers can burn up to 2000 degrees Fahrenheit, so those pose a significant danger to children,” he said. “We ask that children don’t use those. Maybe use glow sticks or confetti poppers. Those are good, safe alternatives that they could use.”

People who follow safe practices should enjoy the holiday without needing help from the fire department.

Katie Tholen has helped run a fireworks tent for Cornerstone Church in Blue Springs for eight years. The money raised helps send congregants on missions, among other things.

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Katie Tholen

Cornerstone, which is located at 301 S.E. County Rd AA, operates one of the largest fireworks tents in Blue Springs.

“We had two big U-Hauls then another delivery,” Tholen said. “One U-Haul is 4,900 pounds or something, so we go through a lot of pallets. I couldn’t even tell you how many pallets.”

The Central Jackson County Fire Protection District also inspects tents to make sure cars aren’t parked too close, safety equipment and procedures are in place, and no stands are selling illegal fireworks.

Only fireworks labeled 1.4G, which are consumer grade, are permitted for sale to the public, but different cities have different rules on what is allowed and when.

“When you’re a district, you have to know the ordinances for every area that we cover,” said CJCFPD Fire Inspector Ryan Brinkman.

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Ryan Brinkman

Central Jackson County’s department covers Blue Springs, Grain Valley, Lake Lotawana and unincorporated Jackson County.

“We can’t do bottle rockets in Blue Springs, so we don’t sell them,” Tholen said. "We are only allowed to sell what we can shoot in the city."

The church’s stand has become a holiday tradition for families across Kansas City — and nobody wants a mishap to spoil the party.

“We hope everybody has a safe and fun Fourth,” Manley said. “We know it’s a great time that families and friends get to spend together, but we also want to make sure that they do it in a safe manner.