Sheriff: Stay safe on July 4 and this summer

Published 12:20 am Friday, July 3, 2015

By Shavonne Walker

The July 4th holiday is time to commemorate the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, but it’s also a time for family barbecues, parades, fireworks and travel.

Rowan County Sheriff Kevin Auten encourages Rowan residents to make this year’s holiday a safe time with family and friends.

July 4 is one of the most heavily traveled holidays of the year. Auten shared the following driving tips:

• Always scan the roadway ahead of you and behind.

• Glance at the front wheel of the car in the next lane to determine if the driver attempts to veer into your lane.

• Always signal other drivers your intentions by braking, using a turn signal or headlights so other motorists can see you approaching.

• Never follow too closely.

Auten also reminded motorists to be courteous of other drivers and don’t get angry with bad or reckless drivers.

He also suggested caution when handling fireworks. According to the U.S. Consumer Product and Safety Commission, there are 9,000 emergency-room treated injuries associated with fireworks in a year.

Auten recommends these fireworks safety tips:

• Never give fireworks to small children and always follow the package directions.

• The person who lights the fireworks should wear eye protection.

• Have water close by as a precaution.

• Light one firework at a time and don’t attempt to relight a “dud.”

• Store fireworks in a cool, dry place and away from children and pets.

• Never point fireworks at people, pets, vehicles or other objects.

• Stay at least 500 feet away from professional fireworks displays.

• Leave any area immediately when untrained amateurs are using fireworks.

Auten also reminded residents of safe swimming at the pool or beach. He said children should be accompanied by a responsible adult who knows lifesaving techniques and first aid. Also, make sure all covers are installed on all drains in pools. If a child is missing, Auten suggests adults check the pool first.

Auten provides the following tips:

• Never swim alone.

• If you are caught in a rip current, swim parallel to the shore until you are out of the current. Once you are free, then swim toward shore. If you can’t swim to shore, float or tread water until free of the rip current then swim to shore.

• Watch out for dangerous toos — too tired, too cold, too far from safety, too much sun, and too much strenuous activity.

• Don’t swim at a beach after a heavy rain because runoff may result in high bacteria levels.

• Exercise extreme caution when diving in the ocean.