Traditionally on the fourth of July crowds of people gather to celebrate Independence Day with food, fireworks and water attractions. While all of these ideas may seem fun they can also be dangerous. Don’t let this discourage you because there are many ways to stay safe.
“The weekend around the fourth of July attracts many people out for entertainment, by boating, swimming, fireworks, etc. While enjoyable, there is always risk while doing these types [of] activities. Just be aware of what is going on around you. Stop friends and family from participating if they have become intoxicated,” Assistant Chief of Police at the Tarleton State University Police Department, Mark Hukel said.
Being safe on the road is another way to prevent accidents on the fourth of July. Be sure to get a designated driver or make plans to stay where you are this weekend.
Anyone who finds themselves without a designated driver this weekend should “stay put until they can contact a friend or family member for a ride or contact the local taxi or shared ride company like Uber or Lyft,” Hukel said.
One of the safe ride services located in Stephenville is Taxiville. You can contact them by phone at: 254-434-8998 or find more information on their website at: https://www.taxivilletx.com/
Any person operating a water vehicle this weekend should have their boater’s safety certification. Lake goers should also remember that water and alcohol do not mix and be sure to wear their life jackets.
“Children and people that are not good swimmers should always have on life vests while boating. To be extra safe, everyone on board should have a vest while in transit. There will be people operating boats that may be intoxicated,” Hukel said. “Take precautions and keep an eye on boats coming near you. Be prepared to take evasive action if a watercraft is coming towards you. Anyone operating the boat you are in should have taken a watercraft safety course and should be knowledgeable of boating safety and etiquette.”
It is also important to keep in mind county Burn Bans. A Burn Ban is when the local government outlaws burning outdoors, this often includes the use of fireworks and bonfires. A Burn Ban is often issued when a county has not had rain for a period of time and is used to keep the land safe by protecting against wildfires. In Texas you can check to see if your county is under a burn ban by going to: https://tfsweb.tamu.edu/burnbans/
People who wish to use fireworks this weekend should “ensure they are in a place where the fireworks are legal to use, such as there is no burn ban or fireworks ban. Don’t drink while setting off fireworks. Make sure any fireworks used by children are age appropriate, such as sparklers,” Hukel said.
Another thing that people might not often remember during the fourth of July weekend is that heat exhaustion and alcohol poisoning can also occur. Some of the common signs of heat exhaustion are heavy sweating, dizziness, nausea, tiredness and a fast-weak pulse. Some of the common signs of alcohol poisoning are confusion, vomiting and passing out.
“Be careful while drinking alcoholic beverages in the sun and heat. Stay hydrated,” Hukel said.
If you do happen to find yourself in an accident or find someone suffering from heat exhaustion or alcohol poisoning you should call 911.
“Depending on the accident, take appropriate measures to provide first aid to anyone injured. Call for EMS and police when an injury may require an emergency room visit,” Hukel said.
One other thing that can often get overlooked on the fourth of July weekend is the safety of your pets.
“Please ensure your pets are in a secure location. Many dogs get lost because they escape their yard from fear of the fireworks. It’s best if you can keep them inside the house in the most sound insulated room you have available,” Hukel said.
One way to enjoy the fourth of July to the fullest is by going to an event hosted by the local community. On July 3, 2021 the Stephenville Parks and Recreation Department will be hosting an all-day fourth of July celebration. The celebration will start with a parade at 9 a.m. in Downtown Stephenville. Then Splashville admission will be three dollars all day with other events occurring in the Stephenville City Park such as the Elks Lodge BBQ Cook-Off, the Elks Lodge Classic Car Show, Lawnmower Races, Grub Zone, Mini Golf, Train Rides and the Great American Petting Zoo. At 7 p.m. the Texstar Summer Concert featuring the Tejas Brothers and Larry Joe Taylor will start followed by a fireworks show at 10 p.m.
To find more information about this event you can go to: https://www.stephenvilletexas.org/events/details/4th-of-july-celebration-parade-bbq-cookoff-car-show-concert-fireworks-25386
For more information on heat exhaustion you can go to: https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/extremeheat/warning.html
For more information on alcohol poisoning you can go to: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/alcohol-poisoning/symptoms-causes/syc-20354386