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Stay safe this Fourth of July
Joe Doss

The Fourth of July is a time to celebrate America’s birthday and get together with family and friends for the three F’s of summer, fun, food and fireworks. The Covington News and local public safety officials want your celebration this year to be safe.

Covington Fire Department (CFD) Deputy Chief and Fire Marshal Joe Doss said being careful with fireworks is an important part of having a safe holiday. He said sparklers burn at 2,000 degrees and roman candles can burn at 2,500 degrees. He said some 2-inch mortars leave their containers at 80 mph.

“When you’re dealing with some of these temperatures or some of these velocities, you can imagine what would happen if some of these things got in somebody’s clothing or somebody got hit with one of them or if one blew up in your hand,” he said.

He said a couple of common sense tips are don’t carry fireworks in your pockets and don’t light them in your hands.

“It something was to light off, and it’s in your pocket, it’s got to go somewhere,” he said.

Doss said having a garden hose available when using home fireworks is a good idea, but often, homeowners don’t have enough hose.

“These things leave in such a way you’d have to have 200 or 300 feet of garden hose to reach where it might be,” he said. “Having a five gallon bucket of water that you can carry is better.”

Doss explained that everything fireworks are supposed to do is intended to be done in the air.

“They are intended to do everything in the aerial mode. If it’s intended to pop, whistle, tracer, arc, anything, it’s intended to be in the air so you can see it,” he said.

“Always try to be as ready you can for what could happen. Paying attention and being on your toes is the best thing of all.”

Doss spoke about the negative impact alcohol can have on people in hot, humid weather.

“One of the main things I put out for anybody 21 and older is, be careful with what you drink, when you drink and how much you drink. And be sure you’re rehydrating with water, not alcohol,” he said.

He also said alcohol and fireworks don’t mix.

“They mix like oil and water, not well at all. The first thing you hear is ‘Hold my beer and watch this.’ When you hear that, watch out,” he said.

Doss said if fireworks start a fire in a structure and the fire goes unchecked, there could be total structural involvement within three to five minutes.

Doss said Covington’s fireworks show this year will be the biggest in the southeast.

“This year, the show is increasing in size. We’re actually having three different launch sites. It’s getting bigger and better for those people who want to celebrate the Fourth,” he said.

He recommends keeping home fireworks shows to a minimum and coming to Covington to enjoy the big show.

“Enjoy our fireworks show. Keep your fireworks show at a minimum and come up and enjoy ours. That’s why we put it on, to bring the people into town and showcase Covington.”

Covington’s fireworks show is scheduled to start at 9:30 p.m. on July 4.