The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office encourages citizens and visitors to enjoy public fireworks displays this 4th of July and is offering safety tips to consider 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 and keep an eye out for signs indicating where parking is permitted or restricted.
• Plan your route – know where you’re going and where you plan to park ahead of time.
• Be extra cognizant of bicyclists and pedestrians. Avoid distractions while driving including using electronic devices, applying makeup, eating, etc.
• Consider driving services such as SCAT, Uber, Lyft, trolleys, or carpool.
• 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 people with special needs.)
• Pack your patience and have fun – it’s the Fourth of July!
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 Independence Day, stay safe and if you’re going to drink, designate a sober driver.