As Americans across the country celebrate Independence Day, officials, authorities and state agencies are reminding everyone to be safe.
One of the most treasured pastimes associated with the Fourth of July is setting off fireworks, and Paris Police Chief Bob Hundley urges people to use caution when lighting them. If children are setting off fireworks, Hundley said, it should only be done with close adult supervision. It’s important to make sure there are no flammable materials in the vicinity, he said, and he cautioned not to shoot off fireworks near buildings.
“Avoid shooting fireworks in a dry, flammable area, though with this rain we’ve been having, I don’t know if there are any dry areas,” he said.
People hoping to use fireworks to celebrate America’s freedom also should be aware of city ordinances surrounding fireworks and noise.
In Paris, shooting off fireworks is strictly prohibited, Hundley said.
In Reno, fireworks may be used from 11 a.m. until 10 p.m., Monday through Saturday. On Sunday, fireworks are allowed from 1 to 11 p.m.
In Blossom, the rules regarding fireworks follow the city’s noise ordinance, City Secretary Stacy Prestridge said. Fireworks are not allowed between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m.
Deport Mayor John Mark Francis said the city does not have an ordinance regarding the use of fireworks.
And when it comes to driving during the holiday, Hundley asks drivers to remain vigilant as Fourth celebrations can involve alcohol and the possibility of encountering a drunk driver rises.
“I don’t have the stats with me to show there are more drunk drivers on the Fourth of July, but I’ve found that people will use every holiday as an opportunity to embellish and use intoxicants,” Hundley said. “If you do, make sure you have a designated driver and don’t get behind the wheel of a car, because you’re jeopardizing not just your own life, but the life of everyone else on the road.”
For those who don’t feel they can safely get to their destination, whether due to intoxication or other reasons, Dylan’s Drivers is a local ride-providing service offering free, non-judgemental rides throughout Lamar County.
Dylan’s Drivers will operate tonight from 10 p.m. to midnight, board President Steve Wilson said. To call a ride from Dylan’s Drivers, call 903-905-4959.
In a statement, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Division said Texas game wardens also will be cracking down on boating under the influence this Fourth of July.
Texas Game Wardens and thousands of law enforcement officers will be on heightened alert looking for people boating while intoxicated today, and these ramped up efforts to crack down on impaired boaters will continue July 5-7 during the annual Operation Dry Water weekend, a nationally coordinated heightened awareness and enforcement campaign focused on deterring boaters from boating under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
“Boating under the influence is just as deadly as drinking and driving,” said Cody Jones, TPWD Assistant Commander for Marine Enforcement. “Ever year we see dozens of boating accidents and tragedies on Texas waters that could have been avoided if the operator had refrained from drinking. We are calling on all Texans to keep our lakes safe and fun this holiday weekend and throughout the year by limiting alcohol consumption and having a designated driver at all times when boating on Texas waterways.”