Enjoy the Fourth of July festivities safely

Friday, June 29, 2018

The next week will be full of activities throughout the county as we prepare to celebrate our nation’s independence, and we would like to offer a few tips to enjoy the celebrations safely.

Most parties and events over the course of the next few days will end with a boom, as fireworks light up the sky and backyards. This week, the National Fireworks Association (NFA) released a video to enjoy the celebration safely. The video showcases NFA Secretary Steve Houser and his family practicing safety tips.

Some of the tips include starting with having water on standby and using blocks to keep the fireworks in place. The NFA also suggests becoming familiar with each type of firework before getting started, such as identifying the fuse and making sure it is fully exposed in order to allow maximum time to get away from the firework.

After using the fireworks, it is also important to extinguish it with the water kept on standby to ensure the device doesn’t reignite when you get closer. One family favorite, the sparkler, seems the safest option for the younger fireworks spectators. The NFA warns parents to extinguish the device in water so no one steps on a hot sparkler.

We would like to remind parents or guardians that they need to be on hand the entire time fireworks are in use. It’s tempting to let the kids hang out in the backyard and have fun, but even the devices that seem minimally dangerous require the use of fire.

Several communities will be hosting fireworks displays this year as well, and we would like to remind spectators to keep a safe distance. The individuals who set off the fireworks have to follow a very specific set of guidelines, but we have seen individuals who like to push the boundaries — attempting to get as close as possible to the show.

On another note, festivities also mean increased motorist and foot traffic, which means those cross the street — whether in a car or on foot — need to be extra cautious. Thousands of people will be flooding the streets of Greene County in order to spend time with loved ones and celebrate on a grand scale.

Of course, with the Fourth of July celebration is Indiana’s largest parade — right here in Linton. The celebration sees more than 100 entries lining the streets of Linton and thousands of patrons sitting along the route waiting for their favorite floats to pass.

This year, Linton Freedom Festival Task Force members are putting out a strict reminder that the parade does not allow candy to be thrown from vehicles, but instead must be distributed to patrons on the side of the road. The rule is in place for safety reasons, to prevent children from running into the street to catch stray suckers that fell too close to the parade entry.

We’d also like to remind the adults that this is a past-time for the children to enjoy, and they should not have to worry about a grown up pushing them out of the way to grab candy. We’ve all seen it. If you have a little one you’d like to snag some candy for, talk to your neighboring parade-goers beforehand. More often than not, the other kiddos would be willing to spare a few pieces if you can’t snatch some up yourself.

This time of year is about community and coming together as a nation — celebrating the freedoms we get to experience daily. Have fun and be safe.