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Officials urge safety over July 4th holiday

Holidays are often a fun time to gather with family and friends, but local officials are urging residents to keep safety in mind this week while celebrating the Fourth of July.
One safety issue that is always a concern with this holiday is the use of fireworks and potential fires that can be started by firework use.
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, residents should 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 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.”
Law enforcement officials will also be out in full force over the next several days to make sure motorists are being responsible as well.
The Alabama Department of Public Safety announced their highway safety enforcement period will be from 12:01 a.m. on Wednesday, July 3, to midnight on Sunday, July 7.
During that time, all available state troopers will work additional shifts in an effort to prevent crashes, injuries and fatalities on Alabama roadways.
Russellville Police Chief Chris Hargett said local patrol units would also be keeping an eye out for people who have had too much to drink and 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.”