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Beware Booze, Belts and Burns While Celebrating Independence Day

July 4 safety

Vaccines, new treatments, natural immunity and continued precautions in the battle against COVID have allowed us to make significant strides in recent months in getting back to doing more normal things. That’s likely to be the case on an even larger scale this year as we approach one of America’s most celebrated holidays—Independence Day.

While many might feel a greater comfort level in celebrating with family and friends this Fourth of July, those whose job it is to help keep us safe want to make sure that greater feeling of freedom doesn’t lead to tragedy.

That’s why the Lehigh Valley DUI/Highway Safety Task Force held its annual “Booze, Belts and Burns” holiday safety news conference this week to urge caution while celebrating. An anticipated 42 million Americans are expected to travel over the holiday according to Captain Derek Koch, Commanding Officer, Pennsylvania State Police, Troop M, Bethlehem.

Leave the fireworks to the professionals and enjoy a safe holiday. - Lehigh Township Fire Commissioner Rick Hildebrand

“Troopers will be focusing on drivers who speed, text while driving, follow too closely, and operate their vehicles in a careless and reckless manner,” Koch said.  He added that troopers also are specially trained to identify drunk drivers and drug recognition experts will focus on apprehending motorists who operate their vehicles under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Lehigh Township Fire Commissioner Rick Hildebrand also used the occasion to stress fireworks safety. Hildebrand said if you are going to use legal fireworks, follow these precautions:

  • Never allow young children to handle fireworks and make sure older children are under adult supervision.
  • Never use fireworks while impaired by drugs or alcohol.
  • Never hold lighted fireworks in your hands.
  • Never light fireworks indoors.
  • Do not try to re-light or handle malfunctioning fireworks.
  • Never ignite devices in a container.
  • Keep a bucket of water nearby to fully extinguish fireworks that don’t go off or in case of fire.

Hildebrand said there are restrictions about where legal fireworks can be discharged, including further than 150 feet from an occupied structure and not from within a motor vehicle.

Hildebrand’s best advice—leave the fireworks to the professionals and enjoy a safe holiday.

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