McDowell Sheriff urges safe Fourth of July: Fireworks, swimming tips offered for holiday safety

With the July 4th weekend approaching, McDowell County Sheriff Ricky Buchanan asks all citizens to join him in making this Fourth of July holiday happy, enjoyable and safe for everyone.

County citizens should remember that fireworks, as enjoyable as they are to watch, can be dangerous and should only be handled by professionals. According to the U.S. Consumer Product and Safety Commission, there are nearly 13,000 emergency room-treated injuries associated with fireworks a year.

Buchanan also wants citizens to use caution when swimming at a pool.

“Sadly, most deaths from drowning occur within a few feet of safety,” he said. “The best thing anyone can do to stay safe in and around the water is to learn to swim.”

At a swimming pool, take the following precautions:

• If no lifeguard is on duty, do not let children swim unless they are accompanied by a responsible adult who knows lifesaving techniques and first aid.

• Post CPR instructions and directions to call 9-1-1 or your local emergency number in the pool area.

• Look around the pool area to be certain lifesaving devices are readily available for emergency use.

• Be sure covers are installed on all drains of a swimming pool or in a wading pool. The suction created by the pool’s circulating pumps can be very dangerous unless it is reduced by covers.

• Take frequent breaks (about once an hour) where everyone gets out of the water, drinks water, reapplies water resistant sunscreen (SPF 30 or higher) and rests.

• If a child is missing, check the pool first. Go to the edge of the pool and scan the entire pool, bottom, and surface, as well as the surrounding pool area.

• To reduce the risk of eye, ear, nose or throat infection from contaminated water, swim only in pools in which water quality is properly maintained. The water should appear crystal clear, be continuously circulated and be maintained at a level that allows free overflow into the gutter or skimmer. There should not be a strong odor of ammonia or chlorine.

“Following these precautions will help the children and citizens of McDowell County stay safe and healthy this holiday weekend and throughout the summer,” Buchanan stated. “Have fun this holiday, but please be safe and be smart.”

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