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Celebrate Fourth of July safely

As the Fourth of July holiday weekend begins, remember to practice safety and responsibility when celebrating America’s independence. 

The towns of Belhaven and Blounts Creek will host celebrations on Friday and Saturday. Both towns will have parades at 11 a.m. on Saturday, July 3. The festivities will continue in Belhaven with carnival rides, vendor booths and live performances set to occur on Main Street. 

The night will conclude with a fireworks display over the Pamlico River that is set to begin at 9 p.m. The town of Belhaven encourages all individuals planning to attend the 79th annual celebration to utilize U.S. Highway 264 towards Pantego or the U.S. Highway 264 bypass towards Hyde County after the fireworks conclude to ease traffic. Firework displays are synonymous with Independence Day celebrations and are sure to be seen striking across the sky throughout the night. 

A popular alternative to a public firework display is at home fireworks. Tents advertising all types of fireworks have been popping up across the county over the past few weeks. In North Carolina, several kinds of popular fireworks are illegal to sell or possess without proper documentation. These include firecrackers, ground spinners, bottle rockets, Roman candles and aerial fireworks, all of which either explode or are projected into the air. 

Legal fireworks include snake and glow worms, smoke devices that produce colored smoke, trick noisemakers, like party poppers, string poppers and snappers and wire sparklers.

While these fireworks may seem much safer than their illegal counterparts, every firework is dangerous and can cause serious harm when mishandled. According to the American Red Cross, follow these tips to ensure safety when setting off fireworks at a private residence.  

  • Never give fireworks to small children. 
  • Never throw or point a firework toward people, animals, vehicles, structures or flammable materials. 
  • Always follow the instructions on the packaging.
  • Keep a supply of water close by as a precaution.
  • Make sure the person lighting fireworks always wears eye protection.
  • Light only one firework at a time.
  • Never attempt to relight “a dud”. 
  • Store fireworks in a cool, dry place away from children and pets.

According to the National Safety Council, eight people died and over 12,000 were seriously injured after firework-related accidents during 2017. 50% of these reported injuries were to individuals under the age of 20 years old and 67% of the total injuries occurred between June 16 and July 16. 

When utilized safely, fireworks make for a beautiful display to celebrate the Fourth of July holiday. Accidents are very possible if celebrating from home and it is encouraged to avoid setting off fireworks in an uncontrolled setting. For more information about the fireworks display occurring in Belhaven, visit www.belhaven4thofjuly.com