Sheriff’s Office, hospital provide fireworks safety tips
The Bucktown All-Stars and an array of colorful fireworks will highlight St. Charles Parish’s Independence Day celebration from 6 to 9 p.m. Monday (July 3) at the West Bank Bridge Park.
An opening ceremony will include a flag raising by a local Boy Scout Troop, the national anthem and the recitation of the parish’s Independence Day proclamation. Opening remarks by Parish President Larry Cochran will begin at about 6:15 p.m., said parish spokesman Tristan Babin.
“We are both proud and grateful to have this event in St. Charles Parish for the 27th year,” Cochran said. “The Independence Day celebration is a family-friendly event that offers wonderful music from our friends the Bucktown All-Stars, delicious food from our local nonprofits and a memorable fireworks show that attendees will not soon forget.”
By 6:35 p.m., the band will perform at the celebration. The Bucktown All-Stars is bringing 24 years of music experience to the party, known for a mix of rock, soul, funk, rhythm and blues and legendary New Orleans classics.
Babin said the band has received numerous accolades and awards, including Gambit Reader’s Choice and Offbeat Best of the Beat awards. The band was also named New Orleans’ favorite local band in 2000 and 2009 by New Orleans Magazine and in 2009 by the readers of Jefferson Life Magazine.
The performance will be followed by a 20-minute fireworks extravaganza at 9 p.m.
Festivities also will include two balloon-twisting Uncle Sam clowns and a miniature golf course donated by Logan’s Little Greens for children.
Food items and drinks will be sold by local nonprofit organizations.
“All of our vendors are nonprofit (organizations) in our parish,” Babin said. “So if you’re spending money, it’s going to a good cause.”
No alcohol will be sold.
However, residents may bring their own alcohol. No glass bottles are allowed in the park.
For residents planning on fireworks for the Fourth of July observance, St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office spokesman Cpl. James Grimaldi advised taking safety measures to avoid accidents.
“Remember, that even small fireworks such as sparklers are still dangerous,” Grimaldi said. “Children should be under constant supervision when fireworks are being discharged and all safety precautions listed on the fireworks should be followed, including any recommended usage age.“
One of the most common mistakes people make about fireworks is continuing to discharge them before and/or after the allowed dates and times, he said.
In St. Charles Parish, fireworks can be discharged from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. on July 3 and 4.
The Sheriff’s Office will continue to respond to complaints about fireworks use outside those hours as well as in areas deemed unsuitable for fireworks to be discharged in.
Sheriff Greg Champagne added, “The St. Charles Parish Council in 2013 responded to many citizens’ request for a limited time to celebrate responsibly. I urge citizens to respect the rights of their neighbors and the law by confining the discharge of fireworks to these hours only.”
Champagne said another common complaint is the trash and debris left on public streets following the celebration.
“If you use fireworks, please clean up after yourselves,” he said. “Abuse of this privilege could easily result in the council repealing the limited use of fireworks.”
Grimaldi also advised children should be supervised to ensure they don’t wander in harm’s way.
Anyone who feels a neighbor is misusing fireworks or not following the parish ordinance for fireworks usage, should report the incident to the Sheriff’s Office at (985) 783-6807 or call 911.
The Fourth of July and days surrounding the holiday are often some of the busiest days of the year for emergency departments, eye surgeons and others who treat victims of accidental trauma.
Dr. Monica Williams with St. Charles Parish Hospital offered fireworks safety tips.
Fireworks can be especially dangerous for small children, Williams said. National Fire Protection Association statistics indicate more than a third of the people seen in emergency rooms for fireworks injuries in 2013 were under 15 and nine percent were under five.
A commonly treated fireworks injury is burns from sparklers, she said. While most adults view them as the most harmless of fireworks, these sticks of fire can burn as hot as 1,800 degrees.
Bottle rocket fireworks can be dangerous because they can fly erratically and injure bystanders, Williams said.
Additionally, the bottles and cans used to launch them may explode and shower bystanders with fragments of glass and metal.
Never let children play with exploding fireworks and rockets of any kind, and closely supervise them playing with sparklers, she said.
Fireworks should be observed at a community display handled by pyrotechnic professionals, not in the backyard, she said. Also, respect safety barriers set up to allow pyro-technicians to do their jobs safely and leave the lighting of fireworks to trained professionals, Williams said.When viewing public fireworks displays, remember to keep a distance of at least 500 feet away or up to a quarter of a mile from where they are being set off, Williams said.
Anyone who finds unexploded fireworks should not touch them, she added. Instead, those who find them should notify the local fire or police department about them.