The Orange County Sheriff’s Office will be closed, Monday, July 4 in observance of Independence Day. Reflecting on the holiday, Sheriff Charles Blackwood issued the following statement:
“As an individual, I love the 4th of July, but as Sheriff, it’s a day I worry about," he said. "My staff and other emergency workers typically find it is one of the busiest days of the year. Swimming, cookouts, boating, fireworks, and travel are fun traditions, but they are all potentially dangerous. When things go wrong, we see the dark side. The number of driving and boating accidents, drownings, and burn injuries from grills and fireworks all increase during the July 4th holiday, especially when people consume alcohol.”
Sheriff Blackwood said, “I encourage everyone to take a few moments to proactively review their holiday plans. Thinking critically about the inherent risks and searching for areas of vulnerability can go a long way toward improving the safety of our celebrations. To help with that review, I offer the following 10 pieces of safety advice."
- There are more cars on the road on holiday weekends. Allow a few extra minutes to reach your destination, make sure everyone is wearing a seatbelt, keep your eyes on the road, and maintain a safe speed.
- Make a plan BEFORE the party or cook-out for how to get home safely if you choose to drink alcohol. Have a designated driver, stay where you are, or call a taxi or other ride share company.
- If you are boating, make sure everyone wears a life jacket, even if they know how to swim. The number of boating crashes typically soars this weekend. People injured or rendered unconscious in a crash are more likely to survive if they are wearing a flotation device.
- Stay hydrated – drink extra water when out in the heat. Wear sunscreen and reapply frequently, especially after swimming.
- Children can drown in only a few inches of water; supervise then closely even when they are enjoying wading pools, slip and slides, and similar toys.
- Life guards are under increased stress during crowded times at the pool, lake or coast. Designate an adult to specifically watch the children in your party.
- Practice safe grilling. Keep small children away, have a source of water nearby, and make sure the chef is sober.
- Many pets are frightened by fireworks; they may become lost if they panic and bolt. Please bring them inside or make sure they are otherwise secured.
- Sparklers, fountains, snakes, glow worms, party poppers, snappers and other similar products are legal in North Carolina because they do not explode or leave the ground. Enjoy these at home or attend a professional firework display.
- Wear eye protection and have water nearby when using these novelties.
My staff and I wish everyone a safe, healthy, and meaningful 4th of July.