Be safe, courteous with fireworks

Injuries, property damage can spoil the fun

By The Mercury

If you’ve already heard fireworks, you’re not alone. Some Manhattan residents — heck, some folks everywhere — get a little antsy and can’t wait until using fireworks is legal. We hope, if you have fireworks from last year in the basement, you resist the urge to emulate them. Monday will come soon enough.

Monday, July 1, is the start of the four-day fireworks season in Manhattan. It ends, appropriately, when July 4 turns into July 5, though if experience is any guide, some folks won’t be quite ready to quit then.

Fireworks tents will begin selling the pyrotechnic devices at noon Monday, though, curiously, shooting them off will be legal as of 8 a.m. Whether you patronize the tent that’s closest to your house or one that shares its profits with a nonprofit organization you care about, we’re confident you’ll find plenty of ways to make noise and light up the night sky.

We’ll join the chorus urging participants to obey city ordinances — including the one banning the use of fireworks from city streets. At the same time, we’d like to believe the Riley County Police Department will continue to exercise discretion, focusing on safety and giving residents a chance to heed warnings. 

And although it shouldn’t be necessary, we also urge residents to be careful — to remember that many fireworks are explosives, and cause burns or other injuries when people are reckless. Fireworks also, obviously, can set grass and wooden structures, including houses, on fire.

Let’s remember that shooting off fireworks is a privilege, not a right, and it can be revoked. As surely as the Fourth of July brings fireworks to all corners of the city, it also renews debates about safety and courtesy.

Fireworks create smoke, and that complicates breathing for individuals with respiratory problems. Fireworks also are noisy, sometimes startlingly so. That can spook pets and, especially at night — even during allowable hours — can irritate residents who need a good night’s sleep before heading to work in the morning.

Folks who like to celebrate the Fourth of July with fireworks have it pretty good in Manhattan. Some residents, after all, would like to see the personal use of fireworks banned, and it probably wouldn’t take many injuries or much property damage for the City Commission to revisit its fairly tolerant stance.

So be lawful, be safe and be considerate, and have a good time.

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