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The original item was published from 6/30/2022 3:30:30 PM to 7/5/2022 5:00:06 PM.

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Posted on: June 30, 2022

[ARCHIVED] Concord Police and Fire Departments Share Tips for Safe Fourth of July Celebrations

Possession or Use of Fireworks is Illegal in Massachusetts

Police Chief Joseph O’Connor and Fire Chief Tom Judge, along with Concord Police and Fire Departments, wish to share several important safety tips and reminders as residents prepare to celebrate the Fourth of July holiday.

According to the Massachusetts Department of Fire Services and State Police, fire departments statewide reported more than 900 fires related to illegal fireworks from 2012 to 2021. In addition to the 43 fire service injuries and $2.1 million in damages attributed to these fires, Massachusetts medical facilities reported 31 severe burn injuries extending to 5% or more of the victims’ bodies that were caused by illegal fireworks.

The possession, use and sale of all fireworks without a professional license is against the law in Massachusetts, and punishable by confiscation, fine, or imprisonment. Fines range from $100 to $1,000, and some violations could carry a one-year prison sentence. It is also illegal for private citizens to purchase fireworks legally elsewhere and then transport them into the state. 

Concord Police also remind residents to drive and boat safely and while sober. Residents are encouraged to report any misuse of fireworks they notice in the community to the Concord Police Department at 978-318-3400. In case of a firework-related or other emergency, always dial 911.

Concord Police and Fire would like to share the following safety tips with residents: 

Drive Safely

  • Be mindful of pedestrians. 
  • Always wear your seatbelt.
  • Do not drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol. From 2016 to 2020, there were 1,390 drivers killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes over the Fourth of July holiday period — 41% of the drivers killed were drunk.
  • Even if you’ve had only one alcoholic beverage, do not plan on driving. Instead, designate a sober driver or use public transportation or a ride-share service to get home safely.
  • Take keys away from individuals who are under the influence and are planning to drive. Alcohol and drugs can impair perception, judgment, motor skills, and memory, which are critical for safe and responsible driving.
  • If you see a possible impaired driver on the road, call 911.
  • For more tips from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, click here.

Celebrate Safely

  • Attend organized and permitted fireworks displays only.
  • Remember, alcohol/drugs and fireworks do not mix.
  • Never allow young children to go near fireworks.
  • Keep pets indoors and away from fireworks. The loud noises and flashing lights can be frightening and overwhelming for pets. Pets can become frightened and run from familiar environments and people, becoming lost. Read more here

Boat Safely

  • Always wear a life jacket when on the water. Make sure the jacket is a proper fit for your size and weight and that it is properly fastened. The U.S. Coast Guard reports 76% of boating deaths in 2017 were due to drowning and 84% of the victims were not wearing a life jacket.
  • Maintain awareness of your surroundings at all times. 
  • Be courteous and respectful to other boaters. 
  • Travel at a safe speed for the environment and conditions. 
  • Be sure you have and know how to use essential equipment, such as visual distress signals, sound producing devices, locator devices, fire extinguishers and navigation lights.
  • Check the latest forecast before leaving shore and watch for changing weather. 
  • Take a safe boating course and get a vessel safety check. 
  • Never boat under the influence. Drugs and alcohol impact your cognitive abilities, judgment, balance, coordination, reaction time and vision. Federal law prohibits boating under the influence of alcohol and drugs on all boats. 
  • For more information on safe boating, click here.

Swim Safely

  • Teach children that swimming in open water is different from swimming in a pool. Open water can have limited visibility, unknown depth, currents and undertow, which can make swimming more difficult for children.
  • Avoid distractions when your child is in or around water. Drowning is often silent and can occur in less than five minutes, so it is important to stay alert when children are swimming.
  • Young or inexperienced swimmers should always wear a life jacket or inflatable arm flotation devices. 
  • Avoid roughhousing or play near the pool. This can lead to injuries including, hitting your head or drowning.
  • Never jump or dive head first into an above ground pool or in the shallow end. Only jump or dive into the deep end of a pool where the minimum depth is 8ft. 
  • Be aware of who is an inexperienced swimmer before pool gatherings and keep an eye on them when they are around the water to ensure they don’t accidently fall in.
  • Those who are 21 and older should drink responsibly if they choose to consume alcoholic beverages when by the pool or a body of water. Overindulging increases the risk for injuries or accidental drowning.
  • Avoid using glass containers by the pool. They could break and leave glass around the pool or in the water.

The Concord Police and Fire Departments would like to wish everyone a happy and safe Fourth of July!

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