Extra patrols will be on roads, in parks and on lakes
Safety is a major concern of law enforcement this long holiday weekend as thousands of people descend on Canandaigua to enjoy recreational activities and fireworks.
Canandaigua Police Chief Stephen Hedworth said his department will have added patrols, including bike patrols, throughout the city and parks through Tuesday.
“Over the course of the weekend, we'll have extra patrols just for the increased activity,” he said. “On the day of the Fourth, we will have extra manpower to handle traffic control and lake activity. Lakeshore Drive is obviously one of the main areas everyone flocks to. That area gets packed pretty early in the day.”
Hedworth said there will be a heavy police presence throughout the day for the 10 a.m. parade and activities at Kershaw Park into the evening for the fireworks, set to go off at 9:45 p.m., weather permitting.
“We're just making sure everybody is safe and everybody enjoys the holiday,” he said. “We encourage everybody to come out and enjoy the city. We just ask that people be responsible and that kids are properly supervised.”
Canandaigua police and Ontario County sheriff's deputies will also have increased STOP-DWI patrols to curtail drinking and driving.
“With increased traffic on the highways, we want everyone to operate their vehicles in a safe manner, with a designated driver, or to stay at the party or function they're attending,” said Undersheriff David Tillman. “It's the time of year where people are busy with outdoor activities and different family events. We recognize the mobility of people this time of year and ask that everyone exercise caution in their involvement in whatever activity that may be.”
He noted the holiday also brings increased activity on the lakes and sheriff's boat patrols will have a definite presence, making sure people are operating in a safe manner and using proper safety equipment.
In addition, sheriff's deputies will assist city police in traffic and pedestrian control. Another concern is the safe use of fireworks.
According to a new U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission report of fireworks incidents, 11,000 consumers were injured and treated in U.S. hospital and emergency rooms in 2016. Four died as a result of direct impact from fireworks.
Most injuries were among young adults, ages 20-24, followed by children under 5. Injuries associated with consumer fireworks were most often burns to the hands, face and head. Many were a result of misuse or malfunction.
Hedworth said fireworks may not be discharged in the city without a permit.
County law allows the sale of sparkling devices and other novelty fireworks with minor pyrotechnics between June 1 and July 5. Sales are also permitted for the New Year's holiday from Dec. 26 to Jan. 2.
The state Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Services defines sparkling devices as ground-based or hand-held devices that produce a shower of colored sparks and/or a colored flame, audible crackling or whistling noise and smoke.
Tillman said with all the recent rain, the sheriff's department is not as concerned about fire this year as in the dry 2016 season, but advises people to stay away from anything that's combustible or a fire hazard.
“Appropriate adult supervision must be provided at all times when they're being used by anyone under 18,” he said. “Parents have to use appropriate discretion. The child should be old enough and responsible enough and have actual physical adult supervision; someone right there. It's for family enjoyment and celebration for this time of year, and we just don't want it to cause any injuries.”
Legal fireworks are being sold at various local retailers and from tents. TNT Fireworks, an Alabama company, has tents in several locations throughout the area.
“Sales have been pretty good,” said Preston Herbst, location manager at a TNT tent in the parking lot of Mayflowers Nursery & Garden Center in Canandaigua. “This weekend, it will pick up. What's been most popular have been the variety packs.”
Herbst said the tent will be open until about midnight on July 4.
Wayne County Sheriff Barry Virts issued a warning Tuesday, reminding people fireworks can cause injuries and fires.
"It's all fun and games until someone is injured, your property or property of another is damaged and/or lost to fire," he says.
Virts also notes fireworks are unlawful in New York, but the sale of sparkling devices is permitted during two special times of the year, as noted above. He suggests leaving the use of fireworks to professionals trained and licensed in the use of pyrotechnics and warns anyone using, displaying or possessing illegal fireworks may be subject to arrest and criminal penalties.
The CPCS offers the following tips when using fireworks:
— Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks.
— Avoid buying fireworks that are packaged in brown paper because it is often a sign the fireworks were made for professional displays and they could pose a danger to consumers.
— Always have an adult supervise fireworks activities. Parents don't realize that young children suffer injuries from sparklers, which burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees — hot enough to melt some metals.
— Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse. Back up to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks.
— Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not ignited fully.
— Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
— Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire or other mishap.
— Light fireworks one at a time, then move back quickly.
— Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers.
— After fireworks complete their burning, douse the spent device with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding it to prevent a trash fire.
— Make sure fireworks are legal in your area before buying or using them.