Officials urge Independence Day safety
The Fourth of July is usually a time for food, family and fun, but officials said that it only takes one irresponsible move for the fun to quickly take a turn for the worse.
With the extremely dry conditions the area has experienced recently, fires started by fireworks – a popular holiday item – are more common this time of year.
Russellville Fire Chief Joe Mansell said the best thing to do is be responsible and cautious if firework use is part of your holiday routine.
“If you’re planning to use fireworks around the Fourth, just make sure to exercise caution, monitor the weather conditions, have a bucket of water or a water hose ready, and make sure all fireworks are extinguished completely before leaving them unattended,” Mansell said. “You should also make sure of where you’re shooting your fireworks because if they land on someone else’s home or property and cause damage, you could be held responsible.”
Mansell said if a fire is started as a result of firework use, notify the fire department immediately.
“Even if you are able to get the fire out, it’s best to go ahead and call the department because, with conditions as dry as they’ve been, you never know if it might start back up after you leave.”
Russellville Fire Marshal Steve Thornton said from a medical standpoint, firework users should also make sure to read the directions for proper use.
“We usually see an increase in injuries around the Fourth of July due to mismanagement or lack of supervision,” he said. “No one wants their holiday cut short with a burn or another injury.”
Russellville Police Chief Chris Hargett said patrol units would also be keeping an eye out for people who had too much to drink at a holiday party and then decide to get behind the wheel.
“When you drink and drive or do other irresponsible things, it not only puts yourself in danger, it puts others in danger,” Hargett said. “We basically just want people to act in a responsible manner so this can be a fun holiday for everyone.”