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Safety should be top priority Fourth of July

It’s time again for the annual Fourth of July celebration. Thousands of people flock to Boulder City every year to celebrate the independence of our great nation. With the parade, park festivities and evening fireworks show, the events continue from early morning until late at night. Many people will indulge in family barbecues and picnics, boating on the lake and generally enjoying themselves.

Every year, it seems, the celebration gets bigger. And with bigger celebrations comes a higher risk of injury. With a few simple safety tips and reminders, we can all have a joyous time and rejoice together.

It is important to remember the safety measures being enforced this year during the parade. The parade has grown in popularity with locals and nearby neighbors of Henderson and Las Vegas.

Parking, however limited it may be downtown and by Broadbent Park, will fill quickly. Traffic will be blocked and detoured around different parts of town. So it would be wise to preplan where you will park your vehicle so you won’t crowd the streets or overwhelm traffic on such a busy day. The parade route will be the same one taken in previous years, however there will be an extended water zone this year for the brave entrants who aren’t afraid to get a little wet.

It is important to remember not to crowd the streets. Many of the performers and entrants of the parade like to take up as much space as possible. Many entrants have vehicles, animals such as horses and dogs, go-karts, bicycles, and other attractions to entertain the people. Avoid unwanted accidents by not crossing the parade route. Spectators can find comfortable seating on the sidewalks along the city streets.

This year’s water zone is water-balloon-free. Water balloons of any shape or size are prohibited. However, squirt guns and water cannons are accepted and encouraged. Water fights should be kept in good spirits. Police will be patrolling the parade route, and anyone found hurling water balloons will face consequences.

As the parade winds down, most people will head to Broadbent Park. This is a fun citywide picnic uniting relatives and friends. Kids are running around with confetti-filled eggs and Silly String and make their way to the city pool when the gates open. There are numerous different stands selling drinks and food, too. Remember to keep an eye on your children. With thousands of people making their way around the park, it is easy for children to run off and get lost, or leave your sight.

As the day drags on, it is important to remember to keep hydrated and wear sunblock. The sun will be hot, which leads to a higher chance of dehydration or developing sunburns. If you start to feel exhausted, dizzy, or sick, you are likely dehydrated. It would be in your best interest to remove yourself from the heat and seek shelter indoors. Remember, the average person should drink at least two liters of water a day. On a hot active day like the Fourth, it’s advisable to drink more.

In the evening, most people will head to Veterans Park. The annual fireworks show is accompanied by great food and beverages, games and music. The field will be full of people throwing footballs and Frisbees, lined with recreational vehicles and families barbecuing before the festivities start.

Alcohol has been the top problem in the park. Although it is not prohibited, it is still illegal for minors to consume. Alcohol typically leads to “liquid courage” and at time has been a main contributor to fighting. Remember if you’re going to consume alcohol on the Fourth of July, do so in moderation. Pace yourself and remember that alcohol contributes to dehydration. For every alcoholic beverage you drink, you should drink an equal amount of water or Gatorade. Police will be out in full force, and drunk driving will not be tolerated.

At Veterans Park fireworks of all kinds are strictly prohibited. The only fireworks permitted in the area are those of the trained professionals providing the evening’s entertainment. Anyone else found with fireworks will be escorted by the police department out of the park and may face fines.

Clark County observes the Safe and Sane law. This means all fireworks that explode and or leave the ground are illegal. Many people like to take the quick trip to Pahrump or Moapa Valley to obtain these “illegal” fireworks. The police department will confiscate illegal fireworks and fine people who possess them.

These types of fireworks are dangerous to the people and the structures around and could possibly catch on fire. No firecrackers, M-80s or things that go boom of any kind.

Once you’re done shooting off your Safe and Sane fireworks, dispose of them properly. Submerging them in water for at least 30 minutes before throwing them in your trash is ideal. You should also keep a bucket of water and or a hose handy to put out any fires your fireworks may accidentally ignite. All fireworks should be lit and supervised by adults.

Remember if at any time during the day you become sick or hurt, or if you see a fire, call 911 and report it immediately. It is our joint mission here at the Boulder City Fire Department and the Boulder City Police Department to help everyone have a safe memorable Fourth of July.

If you have any additional comments or questions, call me at the firehouse at 293-9228.

Brian Shea is a Boulder City paramedic/firefighter. If you have further questions about this or any fire safety issue, contact the Boulder City Fire Department at 293-9228.

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