Rowan County sheriff shares tips for a fun, safe Independence Day

Published 12:00 am Sunday, July 3, 2022

ROWAN COUNTY — The Rowan County Sheriff’s Office has issued a series of reminders for community members about how to keep their holiday weekend “happy, enjoyable, and safe for everyone.”

Sheriff Kevin Auten reminded residents of Rowan County to be mindful of the following when handling fireworks:

  • Never give fireworks to small children, and always follow the instructions on the packaging.
  • Keep a supply of water close by as a precaution.
  • Make sure the person lighting fireworks always wears eye protection.
  • Light only one firework at a time and never attempt to relight a “dud”
  • Store fireworks in a cool, dry place away from children and pets.
  • Never throw or point a firework toward people, animals, vehicles, structures or flammable materials.
  • Stay at least 500 feet away from professional fireworks displays.
  • Leave any area immediately where untrained amateurs are using fireworks.

The sheriff also urged residents to be cautious when swimming, regardless of the body of water or experience of the swimmer. “Sadly, most deaths from drowning occur within a few feet of safety,” Auten said.

At a swimming pool, he asked community members to take the following precautions:

  • If no lifeguard is on duty, do not let children swim unless they are accompanied by a responsible adult who knows lifesaving techniques and first aid.
  • Post CPR instructions and directions to call 9-1-1 or your local emergency number in the pool area.
  • Look around the pool area to be certain lifesaving devices are readily available for emergency use.
  • Be sure covers are installed on all drains of a swimming pool or in a wading pool.
  • Take frequent breaks (about once an hour) where everyone gets out of the water.
  • If a child is missing, check the pool first. Go to the edge of the pool and scan the entire pool, bottom, and surface, as well as the surrounding pool area.
  • To reduce the risk of eye, ear, nose or throat infection from contaminated water, swim only in pools in which water quality is properly maintained.

At the beach, swimmers should also be mindful to:

  • Swim in a supervised, marked area with a lifeguard present, and swim with others. 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, turn and swim toward shore.
  • Look for water that is reasonably clear and free of floating materials and odors.
  • Avoid swimming at beaches where there are large populations of ducks, geese or gulls.
  • Look for movement in the water; it helps keep the water clean. Do not swim in stagnant or still water.
  • Do not swim at any beach right after a heavy rain. Runoff following a heavy rain may result in a high bacteria level.
  • When diving at a beach, exercise extreme caution. Beach water is not as clear as water in a pool, so underwater obstructions may not be visible.

In addition to this, the sheriff’s office also asked that drivers during the weekend and on the holiday be careful to use safe practices on the roadways.

With highways experiencing some of the highest traffic flows of the year in this region every Fourth of July, Auten asked that local drivers practice the “Golden Rule” and be courteous to others while on the road.

These guidelines were designed to help ensure that safety remains a priority in Rowan County while, at the same time, the community can come together to enjoy the holiday.

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