KFD and KPD offer Fourth of July safety tips

LIHU‘E — County officials are reminding the public of safety precautions this holiday weekend as the nation celebrates the Fourth of July.

It is illegal to set off fireworks on public property, including streets, sidewalks and parks. In addition, removing the powder or pyrotechnic contents from any firework is prohibited, according to the Kaua‘i Fire Department.

The public is also advised that all aerial luminaries, also known as flying lanterns or flying luminaries, are prohibited in Hawai‘i.

Fireworks and firecrackers may only be ignited on private property between 1 p.m. and 9 p.m. on July 4, and some require permits available through today only.

The KFD Fire Prevention Bureau advises everyone to exercise caution when igniting fireworks, follow listed instructions, and be sure that children are under adult supervision at all times.

“We are encouraging the public to be proactive when celebrating the Fourth of July holiday weekend, have a safe zone for fireworks, and have enough water available via bucket or water hose to extinguish any fires or debris,” KFD Fire Prevention Bureau Captain Jeremie Makepa said.

“As a reminder, Kaua‘i may experience drier conditions in July that are conducive to brush fires, so it is essential to celebrate responsibly to prevent fires.”

Kaua‘i police will be stepping up enforcement to help deter the use of illegal fireworks and firecrackers this weekend. Patrol officers will also be on the roads in an effort to curtail drinking and driving.

“We know how much fun it is for family and friends to gather during the holiday, but we want to remind everyone to please be responsible and not get behind the wheel if you’ve been drinking,” said Kaua‘i Police Department Chief Todd G. Raybuck.

“We also would like to encourage people to please be courteous of your neighbors and keep them in mind while celebrating. It’s great to enjoy Independence Day with fireworks and firecrackers, but it’s important to remember to do so legally, and to take into consideration the noise and smoke that can harm others, including our kupuna, combat veterans and our beloved pets,” said Raybuck.

People who wish to report illegal activity may do so by contacting KPD dispatch at 241-1711.

The public is also reminded that Kaua‘i remains in Tier 4, with a limit on social gatherings of 10 indoors and 25 outdoors.

Additionally, the Fire Prevention Bureau is partnering with Family Life Center Kaua‘i and various outreach partners to educate campers and homeless community members on outdoor fire-prevention measures. Most recently, KFD crews visited Salt Pond Beach Park, and will visit other locations.

The Fire Prevention Bureau offers the following safety tips:

• Be careful with fireworks and use them responsibly only from 1 to 9 p.m. on July Fourth;

• Be aware of wind direction and gusts that could spread fire rapidly;

• Set up your camp in a clear, flat area with a sleeping area 50 feet upwind from your cooking area;

• Ensure that cooking fires are utilized in a fire pit to reduce wood or other fuels from spilling out;

• Limit fires to the size necessary for cooking the intended food;

• Have enough water available via bucket or water hose to extinguish fires after cooking;

• Have a 6-foot safe zone around fires, and keep kids and pets away from the area;

• Dispose of coals after they have cooled in a metal can;

• Never leave grills or fire pits unattended;

• Have an escape route to a clear area safe from rapid-fire spread.

A combination of strong winds, low relative humidity and warm temperatures can contribute to extreme fire behavior. When this event happens, the National Weather Service issues a red-flag warning, which means that critical fire weather conditions are either occurring now or will occur shortly. A red-flag warning does not predict new fire starts.

Any fires that develop will likely spread rapidly in these conditions, according to the National Weather Service. Therefore, the public should not participate in any outdoor burning.

For more information about fire safety, contact the Fire Prevention Bureau at 241-4985.

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