07/01/10 — Safety first: Fireworks are fun, but they also can be sad end to a holiday celebration

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Safety first: Fireworks are fun, but they also can be sad end to a holiday celebration

Let's face it, the last thing people think about on the Fourth of July weekend is that they are going to end up in the hospital -- or worse.

The weekend is for family gatherings, picnics, vacations and fireworks.

And that is where the problems begin.

Law enforcement officers are out more than ever on holiday weekends because there is more than enough carelessness to go around.

From those who still do not seem to understand that they have no business being on the road if they have been drinking to those who refuse to follow the rules on fireworks, there are simply too many people who insist on putting themselves and others in danger.

Most fireworks are illegal in North Carolina -- and there is no reason for any private person without training and without the knowledge of what to do in an emergency to have them in his or her possession.

Although these neighborhood displays might seem harmless, an errant spark could cause a fire, and a lack of caution could cause a serious injury or death.

There is no reason law enforcement officers should have to waste their time answering calls like these when there are more important places for them to be.

And, as always, it is the responsibility not only of the person drinking, but also of those around him or her to make sure no one who has had too much alcohol is on the road. If you know someone should not be driving, take the keys.

The Fourth of July is a time to celebrate freedom, but along with that right comes responsibility. With a little caution, the weekend will be fun -- not tragic.

Published in Editorials on July 1, 2010 10:47 AM