Holidays

Planning your own Fourth of July celebration? Here’s what you need to know.

Whether it’s you who’s planning to celebrate Independence Day with a bang or your neighbor, there are a few things to keep in mind.

Thursday, June 27, is the first day of Fourth of July celebrations as fireworks go on sale. Legal fireworks can be discharged through July 5 every day from 10 a.m. until midnight.

Capt. Lem Moore, from Wichita Police Department, said any fireworks set off outside of this time frame or anything illegal could result in the $250 fine established last year.

The firework ordinance in Wichita hasn’t changed much in more than 20 years, Stuart Bevis, fire marshal, said, but the city decided last year to beef up enforcement protocols of the program by adding a steeper fine and adding to regular patrols.

This year, special patrols will consist of two cops and one firefighter in clearly marked Wichita Police vehicles.

“Everything is going to be the same except that we are going to have two officers to assist in those violators that decide to get aggressive and get overly rude and start getting into criminal activity,” Moore said.

Special enforcement teams will be paid by the funds collected through firework sale permits, Bevis said.

“These are officers and firefighters that are assigned to this duty,” Bevis said. “They are not on normal patrol.”

What fireworks are legal in Wichita is the same it’s been for about 30 years.

“Any fireworks that go father than six feet are illegal. The city of Wichita is a fairly tight and dense urban area and that’s why I believe this law was enacted,” Bevis said. “Anything that says ‘Shoots flaming balls,’ anything that shoots up in the air, those are illegal.”

Anything for sale in the city limits have likely been tested and approved by city officials and should be legal.

“A rule of thumb is to only shoot fireworks that have been purchased in the city limits of Wichita,” Moore said.

The nonemergency fireworks complaint line will be active from 6 p.m. until 2:30 a.m. every day from July 1 until July 7. The number is 316-290-1011. Unless there is an immediate emergency during that time frame, Officer Charley Davidson said concerned residents should call the complaint line instead of 911 to allow “the emergency lines to stay open for emergency services.”

“Obviously if things are happening outside of those times, citizens are still encouraged to call 911 and report it,” Moore said.

Bevis said Wichita Police Department and Wichita Fire Department just want people to be good neighbors as they celebrate the holiday.

“We don’t want anybody’s Fourth of July to be ruined, we don’t want to give them citations, but that’s what is going to happen,” Bevis said.

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