Officials urge safety over holiday time

Published 6:30 am Saturday, June 30, 2012

By Tyler Spivey

Officials want Pike County folks to have fun, but they also want people to be safe.

“We want everyone to enjoy their celebration, but we also urge the use of extreme caution with all debris burning and outdoor fires, including campfires and fireworks,” said State Forester Linda Casey. “It is very dry in parts of the state…Conditions are such that any fire can quickly spread out of control, threatening lives and property.”

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The Alabama Forestry Commission, State Fire Marshal, and U.S. Forest Service recommend avoiding shooting fireworks in or near dry areas or near combustible materials, to thoroughly soak the area with water where fireworks are being discharged, and to have a water source nearby.

These agencies also advised being away from dry areas while charcoal grills are in use.

In Troy, fireworks are illegal in the city limits because of the risk of potential fire.

“We actually had two house fires last year that started because of fireworks.” said Troy Fire Chief Thomas Outlaw.

For county residents, fireworks are legal, but Troy Police Chief Jimmy Ennis said that any fireworks being used should be under adult supervision.

Other precautions to be aware of involve alcohol usage.

“There is an increase in the purchase of alcohol sales” [during the Fourth of July weekend.] said Pike County Sheriff Russell Thomas.

Thomas acknowledged that the holiday a good time for people to enjoy local festivities and a day off, but he also added that the public shouldn’t drink and drive, and that they should use common sense while celebrating.

Traffic is also likely to increase for the Fourth of July, creating more of a chance for automobile accidents.

AAA reports that 42.3 million Americans are expected to travel 50 miles or more from home during the Independence Day Weekend. The number of travelers has increased 4.9 percent from last year.

Despite Fireworks being illegal in Troy, there will be a fireworks display in the city on Wednesday that people can enjoy.

The annual Fourth of July Celebration will begin at 8:30 p.m. at Veteran’s Memorial Stadium on the Troy University campus.