Sheriff's Office Encourages Safe 4th of July Celebrations

NEWS RELEASE #: 16-132

The Sarasota County Sheriff's Office encourages citizens and visitors to enjoy public fireworks displays this Fourth of July weekend while considering these safety tips when making celebration plans.

  • Plan ahead where you will watch the fireworks and arrive early.
  • Large crowds mean lots of traffic. Be patient when it comes to parking.
  • Watch for signs indicating where parking is permitted or restricted.
  • Leave valuables at home.
  • Do not buy or bring fireworks that leave the ground or explode; they're not legal for recreational purposes and can be confiscated or result in criminal charges.
  • If you have small children with you, take a cell phone photo that shows what they look like and what they're wearing. This will help law enforcement find them if they become separated from you. (This is also helpful with seniors who may become lost or individuals with special needs.)
  • If you have pets at home, keep them secured inside your home during the celebrations. Even dogs in fenced yards find ways to escape scary sounds.

If you plan to watch fireworks from the water, remember you'll be heading in after dark. Be sure to check navigational lights in advance and have flares and an emergency flashlight on board. When you return to shore, go slow, eliminate distractions and use a capable passenger to act as a spotter.

However you choose to celebrate this weekend, stay safe and if you're going to drink, designate a sober driver.