LTN Staff Report
As family, friends and neighborhoods across the county come together this week for cookouts, parades, fireworks and other annual Fourth of July celebrations and traditions, the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office reminds residents to think safety first.
An agency press release focused on the potential for firework-related injuries, suggesting adults only light the flammable materials, wear eye gear and never try to ignite a so-called “dud.”
Individuals are also advised to store fireworks out of the reach of pets and children and in a cool environment where materials won’t accidentally activate.
Law enforcement officials particularly recommended anyone who attends a firework show stand at least 500 feet away from the display in case of a large-scale explosion.
According to the United States Consumer Product and Safety Commission, close to 9,000 firework injuries occur each year, sending victims to emergencies rooms across the country. In addition, 60 percent of such injuries take place on and around Independence Day.
Following firecracker-related injuries and incidents stemming from “unspecified sources,” the CPSC website revealed bottle rockets and sparklers to be among the top producers of firework injuries.
The Sheriff’s Office said it is best to keep a precautionary water supply near lit fireworks.
Sheriff David Carpenter reminded residents that not all fireworks are legal in North Carolina. The law only permits sparklers and fireworks that don’t explode, leave the ground or spin.
Spinners, firecrackers, bottle rockets, roman candles and aerial fireworks are considered illegal, the release said.
In addition to firework safety, the Sheriff’s office warned of dangers while swimming at the pool or beach.
“Sadly, most deaths from drowning occur within a few feet of safety,” Carpenter said in the release.
He encouraged adults to watch their children as they swim and never let them swim in a pool without them unless a lifeguard is present. In the event of a missing child, the pool should be the first place individuals check, deputies said.
Pool precaution should also include posted CPR instructions and directions to call 911.
The Sheriff’s Office said suction devices are also potential pool safety hazards and should be adequately covered.
The beach, however, offers the threat of rip currents. Law enforcement officials advised swimmers who find themselves caught in one to swim parallel to the shore before moving towards it.
In addition to applying adequate sunscreen and staying clear of stagnant water or pools with strong-smelling chemicals such as chlorine or ammonia, deputies said to remain mindful of being “too tired, too cold, too far from safety, (getting) too much sun and (participating in) too much strenuous activity.”
Lastly, the Sheriff’s Office advised beach-goers to keep ocean water out of their mouths, and due to increased bacteria levels, to avoid beaches after a heavy rain.
Anyone who would like to enroll in a local swimming course or take a class on CPR/AED or first aid course can contact the Lincoln County chapter of the American Red Cross at (704) 735-3500.