Colchester’s 44th Annual Fourth of July Celebration
Fun Run: 8:15 a.m. at Union Memorial School
Parade: 11 a.m. in the Village
Concert: 6:30-8:45 p.m.
Fireworks: Dusk at Bayside Beach
Get independent: Plan before you celebrate
The Fourth of July is an American holiday that is celebrated far and wide with families, friends and great food. But plan ahead. The fourth is one of the most deadly holidays on our highways because of impaired drivers. Make a plan that will include getting you, your family and friends back home safely.
Nationally, nearly 900 people have lost their lives over this short holiday in the past six years. We can greatly reduce these tragedies, by simply planning ahead. Consider using a designated driver, public transportation or staying home if you plan on consuming alcohol.
Driving while impaired effects not only your ability to drive, but also impairs your ability to decide whether or not you can drive. Poor judgment can result in injury and death to you or others.
Many of the state’s law enforcement agencies will be on the state’s roads this weekend. They will be patrolling in areas of the state where data indicates that impaired driving crashes are happening. In response, sobriety checkpoints and saturation patrols will be conducted in selected locations throughout the state. The Vermont State Police, Sheriff’s Departments, and municipal agencies and local Constables will be participating in these enforcement campaigns in an effort to keep all motorists safe.
It should be noted that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), states that twice as many alcohol-impaired accidents occur over this weekend and four times as many occur at night. Therefore saturation patrols and sobriety/safety checkpoints will be used during these high-risk times in an effort to prevent crashes and save lives.
Make a plan before the celebration begins.
Fourth of July fireworks and pets don’t mix well
Everyone loves the fun and festivities of the Fourth of July celebrations. However, our pets do not have the same appreciation of these patriotic displays. Dogs, cats, horses and even livestock can react to fireworks in ways that could potentially cause injury and even death.
During upcoming celebrations, never leave pets alone outdoors, even if tethered or in a fenced in yard. It’s not uncommon for dogs to escape or injure themselves in a frenzied attempt to escape. In fact, many animal shelters report increases of stray intakes after the Fourth of July holiday due to the number of pets running away to avoid noise and excitement.
If you are planning on attending a fireworks celebration, keep pets at home. A good idea is to keep small pets indoors, in an interior room without windows. Turn on the TV or radio to provide distraction. Keep horses in their stalls if possible and consider talking with your veterinarian prescribing mild sedatives during this time.
If you must be outside with your pet during a fireworks display, make sure your pet is on a leash or in a carrier. Be sure that your pet has current ID tags and/or a microchip so that you and your pet can be easily reunited in case he/she runs off. Some pets may become fearfully aggressive due to the loud noises, so protect pets from kids who may not realize the consequences of waving sparklers or setting off home fireworks.
If your pet is fearful during fireworks, never punish this behavior but don’t reinforce it, either, by trying to sooth the pet by saying things like “It’s OK.” Paying attention to your pet may positively reinforce the fearful behavior. If you have concerns about your animals during the Fourth of July, talk with your veterinarian about the best ways to keep your pets safe.
Dos and don’ts of fireworks
As the mercury rises, the parties and festivities that have come to signify summer excite revelers far and wide. Summer has become the season of pool parties, trips to the beach, barbecues and, of course, fireworks.
Love it or hate it, warm weather seems to beckon neighbors out of hibernation and incites a desire to set things on fire. When cooking over an open flame doesn’t satisfy that desire, many take to shooting off bottle rockers and whistlers. But fireworks can still be dangerous, and not everyone is equipped or legally allowed to ignite fireworks. Therefore, to avoid potentially dangerous injuries, fines or arrests, it pays to follow these fireworks dos and don’ts.
DO find out if fireworks are legal in your area. If you have to travel over state lines or into another country to purchase fireworks, there is a good chance you are not allowed to use fireworks in your community. There are many regulations regarding the sale, transport and use of fireworks, so be sure you’re not breaking any laws before buying any fireworks.
DON’T buy fireworks from just anyone. You want to ensure you are purchasing them from a reputable retailer of legal fireworks.
DO check any safety guidelines and warnings on the wrapper of the fireworks before lighting them.
DON’T light fireworks near people, trees, homes or any combustible materials.
DO keep a fire extinguisher or water hose nearby in the event of a fire. The National Fire Prevention Association notes that the Fourth of July features more reported fires than any other day of the year.
DON’T forget that sparklers and firecrackers are no safer than other types of fireworks. The tip of a sparkler burns at a temperature of more than 1,200 F, which is hot enough to cause third-degree burns and is hotter than the temperature it takes to melt glass.
DO leave fireworks to the professionals to avoid injury or fire.
DON’T light more than one firework at a time.
DO wait 15 to 20 minutes after lighting a firework to see if it has ignited. If not, dump the firework in a bucket of water and move on to a fresh firework.
DON’T let small children handle and light fireworks.
DO make every attempt not to store fireworks. If you purchase them, use them all up. However, a cool, out-of-the-way place may suffice for a day or so.
DON’T have any part of your body over the firework when lighting it. Try to use a lit stick or butane lighter to keep as far away as possible.
DO say no to alcoholic beverages when lighting fireworks. Your perception and dexterity can be compromised by alcohol.
DON’T shoot fireworks off in windy conditions. Otherwise, make sure the prevailing wind is blowing away from the audience.
DO wear eye protection when lighting fireworks.
DON’T shoot fireworks off of uneven ground. To ensure stability, always light them on a hard, flat and level surface.
DO use common sense at all times when in the presence of fireworks.
DON’T assume pets and children will enjoy the loud noises. Make accommodations for a quiet respite.
DO make sure spectators keep their distance. They should be 25 to 40 feet away from ground-based items and even further for aerial products.
Fireworks can be beautiful to watch and often signify special moments and celebrations. Safety should always be on the minds of people spending time around fireworks.