Safety first on the Fourth

Jul. 02, 2014 @ 02:38 PM

This editorial appeared in the The Sun Herald, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina(MCT)

The Fourth of July is one of the most dangerous holidays on the nation's calendar. But with precautions and caution, the festivities associated with this long weekend need not turn tragic.

The key is to celebrate responsibly, especially when it comes to alcohol, fireworks and bodies of water.

Indeed, alcohol should stand as a category all to itself. That's because alcohol-impaired judgment can make almost any activity more dangerous, be it on the road, on the sand or on the water. Whether it is shooting off fireworks or wading into a river or bayou, anyone who has been drinking may not be capable of thinking clearly enough to make the right decision.

That is why we commend the efforts of law enforcement agencies this long holiday weekend to make both our roads and waterways safer.

But law enforcement cannot be everywhere. More often than not, we need to be capable of and willing to police ourselves.

This self-policing includes appreciating the hazards of fireworks. Not even Independence Day is an excuse to make a fool of yourself on the beach or in your neighborhood. Or worse, to turn yourself -- often with the assistance of too much alcohol -- into a menace who endangers those around you.

So cook out, stretch out and chill out.

If you want to float down a lazy river, make sure you know where the bottom is.

If you want to get from here to there by car or boat, make sure someone sober is at the wheel.

Enjoy the Fourth, Fifth and Sixth in such a way that you'll be around for the Seventh.