As people gather over the next few days to celebrate the July 4 holiday, firefighters and law enforcement are reminding the public to make safety a priority.
“We hope everyone can safely enjoy the 4th of July holiday by spending time with family and friends,” Fayetteville Police Lt. Lori Holloway said in a statement. “Be careful with fireworks and guns, watch your neighbour, be aware of your surroundings, and consider celebrating with others at one of the local pro shows.”
Fayetteville’s deputy fire chief agreed that professional community fireworks were the best option.
“Our area has only seen a small amount of rain this summer and conditions remain dry,” said TJ McLamb, who is also the city’s fire marshal.
Igniting explosives in dry conditions can have dangerous consequences. Flames can ignite unexpectedly and spread, the city said in a statement.
On July 4, 2021, the majority of fires in Fayetteville occurred after 10 p.m., with many fires being in dumpsters, outdoor trash cans, or garbage, the statement said.
According to the U.S. Consumer Product and Safety Commission, nearly 13,000 injuries treated in emergency rooms are associated with fireworks each year, the Cumberland County Sheriff‘s Office said in a statement.
The sheriff’s office offered these safety tips:
Never give fireworks to young children and always follow the instructions on the package.
Keep a supply of water nearby as a precaution.
Make sure the person lighting the fireworks always wears eye protection.
Light the fireworks one by one and never try to relight “a misfire”.
Store fireworks in a cool, dry place away from children and pets.
Never launch or point fireworks at people, animals, vehicles, structures or flammable materials.
Stay at least 500 feet away from professional fireworks.
Immediately leave any area where untrained enthusiasts are using fireworks.
According to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, North Carolina residents made an average of 197 emergency room visits per year for fireworks-related injuries between 2017 and 2021, the city said. in his press release.
A person can be charged with a misdemeanor up to class 2 for a violation of North Carolina General Law Chapter 14, Section 54 regarding pyrotechnics.
Sheriff Ennis Wright also urged residents to exercise caution when bathing at the beach or pool. He also urged motorists to be vigilant when traveling over the busy holiday weekend.
Cumberland County Animal Services is also reminding residents to keep their pets safe on July 4.
Meredith Garringer, a veterinarian at Animal Services, said residents might want to keep their pets indoors on the night of July 4, when fireworks might spook them.
“Being in the Fort Bragg area, many of our pets are acclimatized to loud noises,” Garringer said in a statement. “However, with the fireworks, you’re also going to see lightning in the sky. For us it may be good, but for them it is very scary.
Garringer said when animals are outdoors, they should have shade and cool water to help prevent heatstroke. If an animal shows signs of distress, the owner should immediately call a veterinarian, the statement said.
Animal services will be closed on Monday, July 4, on the occasion of Independence Day. Regular hours are Monday to Friday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.