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Play it safe this Fourth of July

Independence Day, commonly known as the Fourth of July, is a federal holiday commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, when the United States of America declared its independence from Great Britain.

Of course no Fourth of July event is complete without the gathering family and friends, barbecue cooking on the grill and the grand finale of bright, colorful fireworks. As of Monday, no burn band has been placed anywhere in the state. Although conditions are favorable for fireworks, extra precaution should always be taken to ensure everyone’s safety.

Lonoke Fire Department Assistant Chief Justin Whittenburg offered a few tips to residents who maybe setting off fireworks on July 4. He said he would urge anyone using fireworks over the holiday, to read the directions on the packages before discharging. Whittenburg said fireworks can be potentially dangerous and should be used with precaution. He also said they should not be use to shoot one another, as some people may find entertaining.

While many younger children often enjoy the classic sparklers, smoke bombs, snakes and pop its, Whittenburg said younger children should not be allowed to discharge fireworks. He said children who do meet minimum age requirements should still not be left unattended with fireworks and should be under parental supervision at all times.

“There is a recommended age for all fireworks,” Whittenburg said. “Read the package.”

Whittenburg also said fireworks should be discharged in a safe location, preferably away from a dry area. With the rainfall earlier this week, Whittenburg said on Monday that he does not anticipate there will be a problem with a fires caused by fireworks, at this time. In the event a fire was started, Whittenburg said the authorities should be contacted.

“If a fire is started,” Whittenburg said, “or if someone is injured, call 911 immediately.”

Although fireworks went on sale Tuesday, in accordance with Lonoke city ordinance, they can only be sold between 10 a.m. and 10 p.m. on the fourth but can be discharged from 10 a.m. until midnight on July 4. Fireworks can not be purchased or discharged on any days following.

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