Fireworks and Parades- Have a Happy & Safe Fourth of July!
By Lauren Perry
June 27, 2018
The signs of summer are popping up everywhere. The BBQ grill is back in action; bathing suits have been dug out the closet; and eager young kids are staffing the neighborhood lemonade stands. Perhaps most fun of all, the summertime fireworks display is coming up! With Fourth of July right around the corner, it is a great time to start planning for your holiday events, so you can relax and enjoy them while keeping yourself and your loved ones safe.
Watch the Weather
At any large event such as a parade or fireworks display, one the main safety risks stems from being outside in the elements for long periods. If you are planning to be outdoors for several hours during, or leading up to the event, it is important to plan appropriately. Make sure you have sunscreen, bug spray and other protective gear on hand, such as a wide brimmed hat and sunglasses, and bring plenty of water to stay hydrated. A small, portable first-aid kit is a good idea, especially if you have kids. For additional safety items to prepare, specifically if you are traveling in your car, this article provides some great tips.
Watch Your Stuff
While it would be nice to think that the weather could be your only problem, it is also important to be aware of other risks. Any time you put large crowds of people together, and there is alcohol involved, the potential for crimes of opportunity and violence is high. If you are next to that group of folks who are celebrating just a little too much, it might be time to move! Don’t try to argue, or otherwise engage with intoxicated revelers, they will not be reasonable. Remove yourself and alert a police officer or other first responder. Theft is also a concern. A pick-pocket or thief loves a big crowd! Here are a few things you can do to avoid being robbed:
- Do not carry your wallet in an open handbag or tote bag without a zipper. Use the zipper to keep your bag closed, and never place it on the ground. If you must, straddle it with both feet and squeeze it tight until you are ready to pick it up.
- Use a handbag with anti-theft features, that is more difficult to open than a regular bag.
- A crossbody purse, where the straps lay diagonally across your body, is a visual deterrent to thieves.
- Never leave your handbag unattended when in a large crowd. The point is not to tempt anyone.
- Only keep a small amount of money, one credit card, and one ID in your wallet.
- Never publicly check your valuables. A thief may be watching you and will give away which pocket to target.
Unfortunately, large crowded events, especially on popular American holidays, are currently high on the list of targets for terrorism. You should be prepared to respond appropriately if necessary. Always have a contingency plan in the event that an active shooter or active assailant attack occurs. Our Active Assailant Readiness Training course is the best way to prepare yourself for such an attack, but here are a few key takeaways to consider:
- Fireworks and other gatherings that occur in open areas are susceptible to vehicle attacks, so select a viewing location close to objects that would stop a vehicle, such as bollards, building doorways, or stairways.
- Staying on the perimeter of large crowds will additionally provide you with a quicker and safer escape if an attack begins.
- Always know which exits you will use in an emergency.
- Raise your situational awareness throughout the event and always create action plans with your family or friend-group to have an effective response plan and rally point.
Once you have these components prepared and in place, you can go enjoy your fireworks show in the safest manner possible.
Using Your Own Fireworks?
While the use of fireworks is not legal nationwide, there are many areas across the country that do allow individuals to enjoy them from private property. If you are hosting or attending a private firework show, it is very important to understand the safety hazards so that you can enjoy your evening without incident. The National Council on Fireworks Safety offers some essential safety tips when handling fireworks, such as:
- Read all labels and instructions prior to use.
- Children should never hold or be close to the fireworks.
- Do not mix drinking and fireworks. Anyone who has consumed alcohol should not handle the fireworks.
- Only use fireworks outdoors in a well-cleared area.
- Have a bucket of water and water hose within reach.
All of us at Trident Shield wish you a safe and happy fourth of July!