Don’t shoot when they’re sleeping.



That’s the basis behind Pittsburg’s ordinance that dictates when residents can shoot off their fireworks, said Don Elmer, Pittsburg Fire Chief.

Don’t shoot when they’re sleeping.

That’s the basis behind Pittsburg’s ordinance that dictates when residents can shoot off their fireworks, said Don Elmer, Pittsburg Fire Chief.

“You can shoot them off during the week, but a lot of people have to go to work the next day,” Elmer said. “We want people to get their sleep.”

That’s why Pittsburg’s fireworks ordinance allows residents to shoot from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. though July 5, with the late deadline extending until midnight on the Fourth of July.

“On the Fourth, the city shoots off at 10, so the later deadline gives them a little time to go back and finish shooting what they have until midnight,” Elmer said.

Midnight is also the cutoff for Girard residents. The city’s fireworks ordinance allows people to sell fireworks from July 1 through July 5, which is also the time period for Girard shooters to fire off their fireworks. Girard residents can start shooting at 8 a.m.

But while Pittsburg and Girard have set ordinances in place, Frontenac’s is still a work in progress.

Earlier this month, Frontenac City Council members elected to keep a new fireworks ordinance off the books for this year’s celebration, opting instead to take a closer look after the holiday had passed. The ordinance the council was considering would have limited firework shooting from July 1 to July 4. It also would have banned residents from shooting fireworks on the street, and required them to pick up any debris that fell in adjoining yards.

Council members said they were considering those options based on citizen littering complaints. But they then decided to put off the ordinance so they could consider more information.

“I think they wanted to see what kind of complaints they received this year,” said Dan Brunetti, Frontenac City Administrator.

Instead, the city will continue to comply with state regulations that dictate when the fireworks can be sold — June 27 to July 5 — but not when common fireworks can be shot off.

Those common fireworks fall under the designation of “Class C,” which excludes firing projectiles like bottle rockets.

“We just want everybody to be safe,” Elmer said.

Elmer said staying safe has been a bit of a challenge statewide — last year the state reported 132 firework-related injuries, up 5 percent from 2007. Sixty-four percent of those injuries occurred on the Fourth, with 10 percent on the third and 12 percent on the fifth. Injuries to the eyes, head and neck were the most common at 31 percent, with 30 percent occurring to the hands. About 63 percent of Kansas hospitals responded to the survey.

But Elmer said he couldn’t recall any major injuries in Pittsburg, though he said that didn’t mean the area couldn’t use any safety work.

“As green as things are around here, some years we have grass fires,” Elmer said. “We don’t want people shooting in hollow trees either ... it seems like we have a tree fire or two per year.

“People just need to follow safety information and read and follow their instructions,” Elmer said. “Then we should be fine.”

Kevin Flaherty can be reached at kevin.flaherty@morningsun.net or by calling 231-2600 Ext. 134.