Tips for staying safe during Independence Day celebrations

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People enjoy fireworks at the Yorktown Waterfront during a past Fourth of July celebration. (Courtesy York County)
People enjoy fireworks at the Yorktown Waterfront during a past Fourth of July celebration. (Courtesy York County)

While the Fourth of July is a day of celebration for many around the United States, it can also be a day that sends people to the emergency room.

According to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission, roughly 230 people on average go to the emergency room every day with fireworks-related injuries in the month surrounding Independence Day.

That’s why York-Poquoson Sheriff’s Office Lt. Dennis Ivey is encouraging people to attend public fireworks displays, similar to the one happening along the Yorktown waterfront at 9:15 p.m. on July 4.

Not only are fireworks, including sparklers, illegal in the City of Williamsburg, James City County and York County, but they can also cause bodily harm to those using them improperly.

Additionally, Ivey cautioned about overconsuming alcohol during Fourth of July celebrations.

“Alcohol, especially if you’re going to parties, make sure you don’t drink and drive,” he said. “People shouldn’t be using fireworks because they’re illegal. But fireworks are dangerous enough without adding alcohol to them.”

Drivers should also be prepared to encounter an increased volume of traffic around the Fourth of July. In addition to not drinking and driving, Ivey encouraged drivers to pay attention to their surroundings and to be patient on the road.

While many are aware of the dangers to humans during Fourth of July celebrations, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is reminding citizens to look out for their pets as well.

The ASPCA recommends keeping alcoholic drinks out of the reach of pets, not applying sunscreen or insect repellent product to your pets that is not labeled specifically for use on animals, keeping matches and lighter fluid out of the reach of pets, not using fireworks around pets and not allowing your pets to play with glow jewelry or glow sticks.