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Safety essential for holiday celebrations

It’s that time of year again. The Fourth of July is a time-honored American tradition to celebrate the birth of this great nation.

The Fourth of July is a wonderful time to watch a parade, barbecue, relax by the pool and watch some fireworks. Undoubtedly, every year this happens to be one of the busiest days for the fire department.

With so many great activities and events going on throughout the city and the large numbers of people flocking to Boulder City to help celebrate the festivities we find ourselves inundated with numerous calls. We, as first responders, like to remind you that most emergencies that occur on the Fourth of July are completely avoidable by taking some common-sense safety precautions.

Together, by taking some extra precautions and celebrating in a safe manner, we can all have an accident-free Fourth.

Dry lake bed: For the second year in a row the dry lake bed will be closed to all festivities. I know in years past that was the spot to gather your family and friends and have a party. However, year after year there have been several injuries and incidents that have forced the city to close the dry lake bed.

The closure will be strictly enforced by the law enforcement officers and you will have to make other arrangements.

For those of you who find this to be an inconvenience, may I remind you that the Damboree Committee works all year to put together a great family celebration that everyone can enjoy without risking the safety of others.

Beating the heat: The weather is expected to be sunny and hot Sunday, with highs reaching 107 degrees plus. So what does that mean? It means heat exhaustion and heat stroke are very real possibilities.

By staying hydrated with water and Gatorade you can help your body’s thermoregulatory system. Drinking plenty of fluids in the days leading up to the Fourth can prove beneficial when you are planning to be outside in the heat all day. Try to remember to cover up. As nice as it is wearing a swimsuit all day, you leave your skin exposed to direct sunlight, which helps turn up your body’s core temperature. Wear sunscreen and if you’re going to be drinking alcohol, remember that alcohol dehydrates you even quicker. So don’t be afraid to mix in water every now and then.

Firework safety: I can’t reiterate firework safety enough. Last summer, a citizen of Boulder City almost lost a house because of irresponsible firework lighting. In Clark County we honor the safe and sane firework law, which states you cannot have any firework that leaves the ground or explodes in any way.

The only places you can legally purchase your fireworks are at safe and sane dealers. If you are caught with fireworks that are illegal, you can expect to be persecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

Nothing is more disheartening than someone having to lose everything they own because someone with illegal fireworks thought they were above the law and nothing would happen. There are plenty of safe and sane fireworks stands here in town and they are all going to a good cause trying to raise money for local groups.

If you are still thirsty for the big bang and bright lights of the fireworks, may I again remind you of the annual firework show at the Veterans’ Memorial Park.

General rule of safety: The Fourth of July is not a day to show off for your friends and family. Remember to drink responsibly and don’t overdo it. If you’re going to drink, don’t drive. Be safe when you are grilling and driving around town with all the extra people here celebrating with us.

Remember this is a celebration, an American celebration. It is a time to remember what this great nation stands for, what our veterans fought for, and what we take for granted every day: freedom.

Please be safe and have a great Fourth!

Brian Shea is a Boulder City paramedic/firefighter.

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