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From the Reference Desk...

This blog provides links to current resources to help you find what is new and noteworthy in the state of Kansas. State Library staff will highlight a topic of specific interest and supply links to important news and services in the state of Kansas.

Jun 29

Safety Tips from the State Fire Marshal

Posted on June 29, 2017 at 9:06 AM by Brett Rurode

Celebrate Safely this Fourth of July
Over 100 fireworks-related injuries occurred last year in Kansas

Topeka, KS. – The Office of the State Fire Marshal with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment and Safe Kids Kansas remind Kansans of the importance of safety around fireworks. Fireworks can be dangerous to both adults and children if not handled properly. 

According to the Kansas Syndromic Surveillance Program, in 2016 there were 123 reported fireworks-related injuries. Injuries to hands were involved in 39 percent of incidents and 34 percent involved injuries to the eyes, face and head.

The most common victims of fireworks injuries are adult males and children. According to statistics from the Kansas Fireworks Injury Survey, a voluntary reporting system for Kansas hospitals, adult males represented 40 percent of all reported fireworks-related injuries, with another 40 percent of reported fireworks injuries affecting children under the age of 18. 

“While shooting your own fireworks can be a thrill, they can also cause serious injuries and fires if not handled properly,” says Doug Jorgensen, Fire Marshal for the State of Kansas. “The safest approach to enjoying fireworks is to visit public fireworks displays conducted by trained professionals who know how to properly handle fireworks. We want all our Kansas kids to enjoy this summer’s festivities as safely as possible.”

To help the public celebrate safely, the Office of the State Fire Marshal and Safe Kids Kansas offers the following tips for the safe use of fireworks:
• Always purchase high quality fireworks from reliable and legitimate sources
• Always read and follow label directions
• Have an adult supervise all fireworks activities
• Always ignite fireworks outdoors
• Have water nearby
• Never experiment or attempt to make your own fireworks
• Light only one firework at a time
• Never re-ignite malfunctioning fireworks
• Never give fireworks to small children
• Store fireworks in a cool, dry place
• Dispose of fireworks properly
• Never throw fireworks at another person
• Never carry fireworks in your pocket
• Never shoot fireworks in metal or glass containers

In addition, bottle rockets and M80s are dangerous and illegal in the State of Kansas. The use or sale of these banned fireworks is considered a crime under Kansas law.
For more information on fireworks safety, visit or 

From The Office of the State Fire Marshal with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment and Safe Kids Kansas

May 12

Boating in Kansas

Posted on May 12, 2017 at 10:32 AM by Brian Herder

It is almost summer and school will soon be out, and that means summer recreation. Kansas has many fine lakes and reservoirs, so it is no surprise that boating is a common Kansas pastime. Just like automobiles, operating a boat is regulated by the state of Kansas, primarily in the interests of safety, environmental stewardship, and taxation.

Boating regulations fall under the jurisdiction of the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks, and Tourism. An excellent place to start informing oneself about boating in Kansas is the KDWPT's Boating page, containing numerous articles and links.

While no one under the age of 12 is allowed to operate a powerboat without direct supervision, Kansans between the ages of 12 and 20 can take a KDWPT course and receive a certificate allowing them to do so. If one is 21 or older, or any age operating a non-motorized boat, a certificate is not required.

By law, motorboats and sailboats in Kansas are required to be registered and are taxed annually as personal property.

Kansas statutes and administrative regulations governing boat operation in Kansas can be found here.

Although frequently overlooked, an important aspect of responsible boating involves following established practices to avoid the introduction or spread of aquatic nuisance species. Aquatic nuisance species are organisms foreign to Kansas waters that can devastate the native ecosystem because they are over-competitive against native species. In addition to permanently altering the recreational environment, invasive species have been estimated to cost the US economy up to $137 billion each year.

Apr 26

Audio Streaming Available for Committee Meetings

Posted on April 26, 2017 at 1:52 PM by Brett Rurode

The Kansas Legislature has recently added audio streaming of certain committee meetings to their website.  Four committee rooms in the Capitol are currently equipped to stream audio: 112-N, 346-S, 548-S, and 582-N. 

Additionally, some of the audio has been archived for committees such as Ways and Mean, Appropriations, and Taxation and Assessment.  Live and archived proceedings can be accessed at the following link:

Audio/Video - Statehouse Live & Archived

State Library of Kansas Reference
Reference: 785-296-2149
Legislative Hotline: 1-800-432-3924