By all means, have a blast this Fourth of July -- just do it safely, say member agencies of Alabama's Integrated State Law Enforcement Task Force. Not only is it important to use caution when traveling Alabama roadways and waterways, but practicing safety is essential for patriotic celebrations involving fireworks.
Responsible for two out of five fires and hundreds of injuries reported across the state each Fourth of July, fireworks can be dangerous, even deadly, if not handled with care. SLE Task Force members stress the following:
* Use common sense, and obey the law. Do not discharge fireworks within 600 feet of any enclosed building; do not shoot fireworks into or from a motor vehicle; do not shoot fireworks toward people.
* Supervise children 15 and younger who want to purchase or use fireworks.
* Use fireworks in a clear, open area outdoors and away from flammables and combustibles. There also should be an ample water supply and fire extinguisher on hand.
* Never consume alcohol while handling fireworks.
In addition, SLE Task Force officers will work together to create a highly visible enforcement presence and to promote public safety during the Fourth of July holiday period. They are intent on preventing crimes and violations that lead to deaths and injuries. All available personnel will combine forces with county and municipal agencies across the state to conduct various details designed to enhance public safety and to enforce Alabama's laws, including fire, traffic, boating and alcoholic beverage laws.
* Restrict access and closely monitor teens to prevent underage use of alcoholic beverages.
* Avoid driving or boating while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
* Buckle up on the road or on the water -- no matter how short your trip. Occupants of all ages should use seat belts or child restraints when traveling by motor vehicles. On waterways, all occupants of water vessels should use U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets.
June 28, 2013
* Focus on driving or boating, and avoid such distractions as texting and using cell phones.
* Slow down in construction zones. Drivers pose the greatest danger in work zone crashes by speeding, not paying attention and driving while impaired or distracted.
* Cross highway-railway crossings with care. Motorists should never drive around lowered crossing gates; and pedestrians and cyclists should never trespass or play around railroad tracks.
* Report anything suspicious (at school, public venues, etc.) to the Alabama Fusion Center's tip line, 866.229.6220.
* Pay attention to weather conditions, particularly when there is thunder and lightning. Storms can come up quickly, especially in warm weather, so keep an eye on the sky. Watch for temperature changes, shifts in wind patterns and changes in cloud formations.
* Make hotel/motel stay safe. Choose establishments that are protected by both smoke alarms and firesprinkler systems. Once in rooms, guests should review escape plans with the entire party. If alarms sound, leave rooms right away, and avoid elevators by using stairs.
* Call before you dig in the yard or other property to prevent gas pipeline accidents. The Alabama Public Service Commission encourages everyone to call 811 a few days before any type of excavation project regardless of depth or familiarity of property.