Q&A: How to stay safe on July 4

Published 7:41 pm Monday, June 30, 2008

DEMOPOLIS — With the Fourth of July quickly approaching, many area residents are planning a time of celebration, complete with water sports, barbeques and fireworks. All of these can, and normally are, pleasurable. However, without the proper safety measures, these activities can end up leaving one injured, or even worse.

Capt. Carl Johnson, who has been with the Demopolis Fire Department for 21 years, offers some safety tips for the fourth of July in this week’s question and answer.

Q: How many fires have you seen in the past as a result of carelessness during this season?

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We haven’t seen very many. We’ve been really fortunate. The few we have seen were very minor and it’s because most people have, for the most part, obeyed safety rules.

Q: What are your suggestions can you offer as far as fireworks safety is concerned?

A: The biggest thing to remember when dealing with any type of fire is common sense. If you think it may be dangerous, chances are it probably is. But a few specifics include:

If you’re a minor, shoot fireworks only under close adult supervision.

Shoot only in a safe area. Don’t shoot near houses, animals, or other people. Make sure you secure a safe distance from these types of things.

Follow the safety guidelines printed on the packages of the fireworks you’re shooting. These are printed by the manufacturer and they know their product better than anyone.

Once you light any type of firework, stand back and leave it alone. Do not approach a firework that has already been lit.

Whenever possible, use starter sticks, which are provided by the firework stand normally. These allow for a greater distance between you and the firework.

Do not allow children to play with lighters, matches or starter sticks.

For larger displays, it’s never a bad idea to have a bucket of water or water hose nearby. With larger displays of fireworks comes a greater chance of an accident.

Be respectful to others and their property. Consider neighbors in shooting fireworks, and try not to disturb them.

Q: Along with fireworks, many will be barbequing on the fourth. What are some safety tips for when the old grill is pulled out?

A: Again, the biggest thing is common sense. Don’t grill next to your fish fryer full of oil, and don’t have any other vat of grease or oil near the grill. If the grill does flame up, try just closing the lid. That will keep you from having to douse your ribs with water. It’s never a bad idea to keep a vessel of water close, whether it’s hose or just a cup of water.