Archive for Thursday, July 3, 2008

Fireworks safety is important

July 3, 2008

Baldwin City Police Chief Police Mike McKenna wants everyone to enjoy the Fourth of July. But, he also wants everyone around the next day.

"Gunpowder and alcohol don't mix," said McKenna. "We want everyone with us on the fifth of July. We want them to have a good experience.

"We want everyone to have a safe and happy Fourth of July," he said. "We've maimed and injured a heck of a lot more people celebrating Independence Day than winning it."

For five of the six fireworks stands in and around town, sales began Wednesday. That's a city ordinance. The Knights of Columbus stand on County Road 1055 could sell Tuesday because where the tent is pitched, it's in the county. McKenna's officers were keeping a close eye Tuesday.

"We've got to enforce the ordinance," he said.

But, that was just the beginning of what the department has in store through the Fourth.

"They can shoot off fireworks from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. July 2-4," said McKenna. "Fireworks can be sold from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. July 2-4.

"At no time can they shoot off or possess bottle rockets," he said. "Any bottle rockets found by officers will be confiscated and destroyed."

McKenna is also concerned about how fireworks are used and cautions everyone to be careful and avoid the use of alcohol while setting them off. That's for adults. He's also mindful of the youngsters involved in celebrating the Fourth.

"If children are going to be shooting off fireworks, please have adult supervision for the safety of the children and the safety of the property in the area," said McKenna.

Fires caused by the explosives is also always a concern, but the area has had an abundance of rain this summer, so those concerns are lessened.

The same can't be said of alcohol. Its consumption on the Fourth is always high, McKenna said, and with this year's holiday falling on a Friday, the three-day weekend can pose problems.

Not only will officers be keeping an eye on the use of fireworks, but they'll also be closely monitoring motorists as usual. Not only does alcohol and gun powder not mix, drinking and driving doesn't either - anytime and the Fourth is no exception, he said.

"We'll have extra officers on duty through the Fourth of July weekend," said McKenna.

There are a host of activities planned in Baldwin City on the Fourth and he encourages families to take part in those, such as the free swimming at the Baldwin City Municipal Pool on Friday.

He also knows many people will take advantage of the annual community fireworks display at the ball fields near Baldwin High School on Friday night. McKenna thinks the community events are something special about Baldwin City and encourages everyone to be safe at those, too.

"The Fourth of July is a great time for families to celebrate together," he said. "Let's do it safely."

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