Editorial: Safety should be first on holiday weekendPublished 9:43pm Wednesday, June 27, 2012
It isn’t a secret that what southwest Michigan is lacking in rain, it is making up for with dry heat. With high temperatures, brisk breezes and crispy, fried foliage, the Fourth of July weekend is bound to cause concern for homeowners and fire departments alike.
We as a community should make a determined effort to practice safety during the holiday, which is known for fires and explosives. Negligence in normal weather conditions can become suddenly catastrophic and dangerous in high-risk conditions.
With a new law pertaining to fireworks, many residents will have to concentrate on what celebratory activities they choose to do and how they do them. According to local fire departments, amateur firework shows in dry, hot conditions often don’t account for the danger that comes along with them. Dowagiac firefighter Doug Michels said that while there is currently no statewide burn ban put into effect, he is “strongly suggesting” that residents avoid lighting fireworks on their own, having bonfires or burning yard waste.
If residents still plan to ignite fireworks, grill out or hold bonfires, they should consult their local fire department on current and updated safety procedures. Community members should also limit the amount of fireworks they choose to use, or save the show for another date that isn’t high-risk.
With not a drop of rain in sight, celebratory fireworks and fire-related tasks must be monitored more closely, or avoided completely if possible.
By working together as a community to keep each other safe and accountable, devastating consequences can be avoided and the holiday can be enjoyed.
This editorial represents the views of the editorial board.