Archive for Thursday, July 3, 2008

Common sense needed with fireworks

July 3, 2008

Fireworks are such an ingrained tradition of the Fourth of July and so easily obtained that bans are futile, as De Soto city officials conceded when they lifted the ban against their use three years ago. That does not make them a good thing.

They are inherently dangerous, environmentally harmful and a nuisance to those who aren't part of the fun. In short, they are clearly out of step in an age of product liability lawsuits, environmental awareness and anti-smoking bans. They are available only because of their long association with our most patriotic celebration.

This holiday season, we can safely predict the careless use of fireworks will cause injuries to children and destructive, perhaps fatal, fires.

It is a greater tragedy because all such events could be easily avoided should common sense measure recommended annually by the Kansas Fire Marshall be followed. Chief among those recommendations is that parents supervise their children's use of fireworks. It is a precaution that is widely ignored.

Fortunately, a wet June reduced the potential this year for fires. But once again common sense and supervision that would quickly put an end to "what would happen if" youthful experiments could avoid fires.

We would also note that city regulations prohibit the use of fireworks on public property. Because that includes streets and open parking lot, that prohibition too will be ignored. We would suggest, however, celebrants take the time clean up after themselves. Spent fireworks are just as unsightly as all other litter and filled with chemicals and heavy metals that gave their brief bloom so much color. The debris should be picked up to prevent it from leeching into the soil and groundwater.

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