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Safety stressed on land, water and grill
Hazards include alcohol, fireworks
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Forsyth County News
The expectation of cookouts and crowds this Independence Day weekend has local public safety officials prepared for revelry.

Cumming Police Chief Scott Burgess said officers will provide security and crowd control during the city’s Fourth of July fireworks display Friday night and Thomas-Mashburn Steam Engine parade Saturday morning.

“We want to help people keep from being injured during the events,” he said.

For example, officers and volunteers will watch for small children who could dart out in front of the lumbering steam engines during the downtown procession.

“People in the past have had things like Silly String and Super Soakers, which sometimes leads to arguments and fights between people because somebody gets doused when they’re enjoying the parade,” he said. “We try to keep anything from happening from that.”

Traffic can slow to a halt during the holiday events, so Burgess asked that motorists be patient.

He and Forsyth County Sheriff’s Capt. Frank Huggins said authorities will also be watching over the holiday weekend for impaired drivers, as well as speeding and other traffic offenses.

Forsyth County Fire Chief Danny Bowman has recommended leaving the fireworks to the professionals.

“Fireworks are unpredictable and injuries can occur even if a person is careful or is under supervision,” Bowman said. “The best way to avoid injury is to not use fireworks.”

However, for those planning a little display of their own, the fire department has offered a few suggestions.

Authorities recommend reading and following all labels, warnings and instructions, always having an adult present and using fireworks only outdoors.

Eye protection should be worn by the person lighting the fireworks and a bucket of water and garden hose should be kept close by in case of a malfunction or fire.

Soak fireworks in water before throwing them in a trash can.

The local fire department also had a few tips for those planning to celebrate with a barbecue over the weekend.

Grills should be set up on a flat surface, away from structures and low-hanging branches, and positioned away from siding and deck railings.

They should not be used indoors or in tents. Never leave them unattended.

For charcoal briquette grills, the fire department suggests following manufacturer instructions, using only recognized charcoal starter fluid, allowing ashes to cool before removing them from a grill and disposing of them in a non-flammable container.

Those cooking with a gas grill should open the lid before turning it on or lighting it. Make sure the gas is turned off when the meal is finished.

Fire Capt. Jason Shivers said those looking to cool off with a dip in the pool or the lake should also use caution.

“If you can’t swim, don’t go into the water,” Shivers said.

He also advised against operating a boat after drinking alcohol.