This year there’s been lots of rain, so Lee’s Summit isn’t exactly a tinderbox waiting to flare up this July 4.
Still, residents need to be cautious with fireworks during their Independence Day celebrations, fire officials said. There’s always the hazard of personal injury or setting a roof afire. Or irritating the neighbors.
And police will be looking for violators.
Mayor Randy Rhoads said every year he gets a few adamant calls from residents who were disturbed by late-night fireworks or because their pets were disturbed by fireworks. He’s urging people to be courteous and abide by Lee’s Summit’s ordinance.
Rhoads said fireworks is one of the most frustrating issues the City Council deals with, particularly because of inconsistencies between state, county and local laws.
Lee’s Summit laws are more restrictive, so officials urge residents to buy fireworks from one of 20 stands licensed in the city. There they are assured to get legal fireworks, help a charity and the fireworks stand will give them the free permit required to shoot fireworks. The permit’s purpose is to make sure residents know all the regulations for using fireworks in Lee’s Summit, which are included on it. (The permit is also available at City Hall or printed using the city website www.cityofls.net).
Some residents want to see a fireworks ban. Others want to use forbidden items such as bottle rockets.
“We have not found a solution that satisfies everybody,” Rhoads said. “I’m not sure we found a solution that satisfies anybody.”
A better option than illegally shooting rockets are the free fireworks shows in the area.
“If you want to see dramatic fireworks, go to Legacy Park or Longview Lake,” Rhoads said. “They’re usually pretty good.”
Fireworks may be legally shot between 10 a.m. and 11p.m. on July 2-3 and 10 a.m. to midnight July 4 in Lee’s Summit.
Certain fireworks easily found outside Lee’s Summit are banned in the city limits. They include bottle rockets, missiles with fins or rudders, Roman Candles or similar items that shoot flaming balls or parachutes with glowing night effects.
To shoot fireworks you must be 16 or older, or under supervision of a parent or guardian. And they can’t be used in manner that they’ll land on another person’s property.
The city will again be adding extra patrols for fireworks enforcement, said Sgt. Christopher Depue, department spokesman.
“Each year that we have done that, the extra officers are able to handle those calls for service and keep other officers free to handle emergency calls,” Depue said.
In addition, Depue said, the officers handling those fireworks calls are able to spend a little extra time interacting with violators. Not all of those calls result in a citation, often the officer is able to provide information on the ordinance and gain voluntary compliance, he said.
Police wrote 34 citations in 2012, more than double the number in 2011.
If you decide to shoot fireworks the Lee’s Summit Fire Department encourages you to follow these safety steps:
• Adults should always supervise fireworks activities. Parents often don't realize there are many injuries from sparklers to children under five. Sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees - hot enough to melt some metals. Do not let children run with sparklers.
• Never have any portion of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse. Move back to a safe distance immediately after lighting.
• Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not fully functioned.
• Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
• Avoid using fireworks near dry vegetation or other combustible items.
• Keep pets indoors.
• Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire or other mishap.
• Light one item at a time then move back quickly.
• After fireworks have discharged, place them in a metal container with water. Do not place fireworks debris in with the regular trash, or indoors.