Officials: Have fun, be safe during holiday
NATCHEZ — During this Fourth of July holiday, public safety officials’ message to citizens is to have fun, but remember to put safety first.
Though many people will enjoy filling the night skies with vibrant colors to represent the rockets’ glare, Natchez Police Chief Walter Armstrong said Natchez residents must remember that shooting off fireworks within city limits, though legal, is not recommended.
Although no ordinances prevent shooting fireworks within the city limits, state law governs certain types of fireworks.
The types of fireworks allowed under state law fall under the label of Class C common fireworks, such as “cone fountains, small Chinese crackers, small non-explosive Roman candles and rockets, and similar non-dangerous items,” according to the Mississippi Code of 1972.
Anyone planning to shoot off fireworks must still make sure to set up in a safe location, Adams County Emergency Management Director Robert Bradford said.
Though no burn ban is in effect, Bradford said, the need to seek out a good place to responsibly launch fireworks remains.
“County residents using fireworks should watch out for dry grass and wooded areas,” Bradford said.
He added not to shoot fireworks near residences or flammable liquids and for adults to supervise children around fireworks.
While shooting off fireworks is a common concern during this time of year, Adams County Sheriff Travis Patten said his deputies would also keep an eye out for those who use the opportunity to shoot off firearms during their celebration.
Patten said in the past, his office has received complaints about people firing weapons into the air during the Fourth, and although firing weapons is legal so long as they are not within city limits, he asked such people to at least exercise extreme caution by finding a secluded area.
“People need to remember, if that bullet goes up, it must come down somewhere,” Patten said.
As with most holidays, law enforcement will also be looking out for drunk drivers, both Armstrong and Patten said.
“Don’t make us police you,” Patten said. “Police yourselves.”
Armstrong encouraged citizens not only to implement safe driving practices themselves, such as using a designated driver and avoid becoming distracted by using mobile devices, he also urged drivers to be mindful of others on the road who might not be so concerned with safety.
“For those who witness a person that might be driving under the influence or may be distracted while driving are encouraged to call and report those individuals, because we know that lives can be lost when persons are driving a vehicle distracted or impaired,” Armstrong said.
In these instances, people should note a vehicle description, the direction of travel and the ill-advised behavior of the driver, Armstrong said.