Officials: Keep safety first

Published 10:53 pm Thursday, July 2, 2009

Barbecues and fireworks are a big part of the July 4 holiday, but both can pose serious hazards.

That’s why local law enforcement officials are urging residents to think about safety first.

While fireworks are not allowed within city limits, Troy Fire Chief Thomas Outlaw said people who can shoot fireworks need to use caution.

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Despite the county finally making its way out of drought conditions, Outlaw said the ground is still dangerously dry and fireworks only add extra risks.

“This year, it’s going to be extremely important since the grass is so dry, that if you get out there and shoot fireworks, you’re probably going to burn up somebody’s property,” Outlaw said.

Troy Police Chief Anthony Everage agreed.

“Even with the recent showers in our area, we still need to be on the alert for this problem,” Everage said.

Besides posing fire risks, fireworks can also cause serious bodily injuries if not used properly.

“A person can be seriously injured or hurt while using them because they are explosive,” Everage said.

Outlaw said the Troy Fire Department typically receives several calls for both fires and firework injuries during the July 4 holiday.

“Normally we have several severely injured,” Outlaw said. “And it’s never happened here, but nationwide people have been killed in the past.”

Fireworks are not the only things the cause local fires each year.

Outlaw said barbecue grills are often a big fire hazard.

“During these holidays with many folks grilling, we normally catch some calls this time of year,” Outlaw said. “You need to inspect grills before you light them up. One of the big things we run into is some of the hoses on these gas grills have deteriorated, and they end up with a leak in the grill that actually causes a fire.”

Everage said there are plenty of other types of things residents should be weary of as the holidays draw near.

An increase in traffic can pose higher risks of injuries on the road.

“People need to be aware there’s always an increase in traffic during holidays,” Everage said. “They need to be aware of other drivers and drive defensively. Motorists should give themselves plenty of time to arrive at their destination. Make sure seatbelts are worn at all times, while traveling and make sure children are in a proper child restraint.”

Everage said Troy Police will be out monitoring roads and ensuring safety during the season.

“Troy Police Officers are going to be out patrolling throughout the city and helping people have a safe holiday,” he said. “We are going to be emphasizing safety and fireworks safety.”