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Practice summer safety; Independence Day

While celebrating Independence Day, it is important to practice risk management.

While celebrating Independence Day, it is important to practice risk management. (U.S. Air Force graphic by Airman Jonathan Whitely)


While celebrating Independence Day, it is important to practice risk management.

Brad Truver, 50th Civil Engineer Squadron assistant chief of fire prevention, at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, said knowing and being aware of laws surrounding the holiday in Colorado is important.

“In Colorado Springs, fireworks are illegal,” he said. “That even goes for sparklers.”

He said sparklers are one of the most dangerous fireworks due to accessibility and carelessness of the user.

“About a quarter of 4th of July emergency room visits are because of sparklers,” Truver said. “Most people don’t know this but they burn at 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit. Even the simplest of fireworks can be dangerous and that is why you need to be very careful.”

Staff Sgt. Robert Cook, 50th Space Wing safety office noncommissioned officer in charge of occupational safety at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, said the penalties of using fireworks can be steep.

“Most fireworks are illegal in Colorado,” Cook said. “Not only could you serve up to 189 days or be fined $2,500 for setting off fireworks in Colorado Springs, but you could really hurt yourself if you unsafely use them.”

He said besides following the laws and regulations on fireworks, it is important to practice grilling safety.

“When it comes to grilling, I like to follow the three foot rule,” Cook said. “Keep your grill three feet away from your house, decks or any other potentially flammable items.”

Cook said to be aware of surroundings while grilling.

“Make sure your kids and pets stay away from grills,” he said. “Also check your hoses and make sure your grill is clean. This can help prevent grease fires and other potential dangers.”

While safely enjoying a grilled meal, it also is important to drink responsibly as every day in the United States, 29 people die in a motor vehicle crash which involves an alcohol impaired driver.

“When drinking, it’s important to know your limits,” Cook said. “Even if you have just one drink, I’d recommend you don’t drive, this also applies to boats. You could get arrested, hurt, kill someone or even yourself. It’s just not worth risking.”

Truver said it is easy to prevent drunk driving, especially with the accessibility of commercial transportation services.

“It’s important to always have a plan,” he said. “If you’re drinking, under no circumstances should you be driving. There are already enough distractions on the road, add alcohol to the equation and next thing you know you’re in a head on collision and someone is dead.”

Truver also added inclement weather can strike anytime.  

“There were more than 500,000 lightning strikes in the state of Colorado last year,” he said. “So if you’re out celebrating the holiday and you hear a roar, get indoors. Lightning can strike up to 10 miles away from the storm so it never hurts to play it safe.”

Additionally, he said to be careful while smoking and be diligent about discarding cigarettes.

“The most structure fires in the United States on a single day are on July 4th,” Truver said. “Be ready for anything that may happen, seven people die in the U.S. every day from a fire. By being prepared you are able to prevent dangerous situations like these.”

For more information about Independence Day safety, contact the Schriever AFB Fire Department at 567-3370.

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