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Celebrating on the 4th? Follow these safety tips

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As people gather over the next few days to celebrate the July 4th holiday, firefighters and law enforcement officers are reminding the public to make safety a priority.

“We hope that everyone is able to safely enjoy the July Fourth holiday by spending time with family and friends,” Fayetteville police Lt. Lori Holloway said in a release. “Be careful with fireworks and firearms, look out for your neighbor, be aware of your surroundings and consider celebrating with others at one of the local professional shows.”

The assistant Fayetteville fire chief agreed that professional community fireworks shows are the best option.

“Our area has only seen a small amount of rainfall this summer and conditions continue to remain dry,” said T.J. McLamb, who also is the city fire marshal.

Igniting explosives in dry conditions can have dangerous consequences. Flames can spark unexpectedly and spread, the city said in a release.

On July 4, 2021, the majority of fires in Fayetteville occurred after 10 p.m., many of the fires were in dumpsters, outside trash cans or rubbish, the release said.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product and Safety Commission, nearly 13,000 emergency room-treated injuries are associated with fireworks annually, the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office said in a release.

The Sheriff’s Office offered these safety tips:

  • Never give fireworks to small children, and always follow the instructions on the packaging. 
  • Keep a supply of water close by as a precaution. 
  • Make sure the person lighting the fireworks always wears eye protection. 
  • Light fireworks one at a time and never attempt to relight "a dud." 
  • Store fireworks in a cool, dry place away from children and pets. 
  • Never throw or point fireworks toward people, animals, vehicles, structures or flammable materials. 
  • Stay at least 500 feet away from professional fireworks displays. 
  • Leave any area immediately where untrained amateurs are using fireworks. 

According to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, North Carolina residents averaged 197 emergency department visits per year for firework-related injuries between 2017-2021, the city said in its release.

A person can be charged with up to a Class 2 misdemeanor for a violation of North Carolina General Statute Chapter 14, Article 54 concerning pyrotechnics.

Sheriff Ennis Wright also urged residents to use caution when swimming at the beach or a pool. He also urged motorists to be alert when traveling on the busy holiday weekend.

Pet safety

Cumberland County Animal Services also reminds residents to keep their pets safe on July 4th.

Meredith Garringer, a veterinarian with Animal Services, said residents may want to keep their pets indoors the night of July 4 when fireworks may frighten them.

“Being in the Fort Bragg area, a lot of our pets are acclimated to loud noises,” Garringer said in a release. “However, with fireworks, you’re also going to see flashes in the sky. To us, it may be neat, but to them, it’s very scary.”

Garringer said that when animals are outside, they should have shade and cool water to help prevent heat stroke. If a pet is showing signs of distress, the owner should immediately call a veterinarian, the release said.

Animal Services will be closed Monday in observance of Independence Day. Regular hours are Monday through Friday 11 a.m.– 5 p.m. and Saturday 1-5 p.m.

Fayetteville, Cumberland County, Police Department, Sheriff's Office, Animal Services, fireworks, safety