The Cheraw Fire Department is advising residents to avoid using consumer fireworks this Independence Day.
Due to dry conditions throughout the Pee Dee River basin, Cheraw Fire Chief Marvin Murray is recommending residents seek out professional fireworks shows instead.
“Unless we get some rain, we actually discourage people from doing consumer fireworks,” he said. “We encourage them to find a professional show somewhere, and go watch that. Consumer fireworks are pretty dangerous and we really recommend they go to a professional show somewhere.”
Murray said if residents insist on ignoring that advice, they should keep a bucket of water on hand to dispose of used fireworks and make sure there is adequate adult supervision for children.
Murray said his department tends to get more calls around the holiday when the weather is dry, as it has been this year.
“It’s really dangerous,” said Murray.“That’s why we discourage them from doing consumer fireworks and really encourage them to get a chair and some good iced tea and watch a professional show. That would be a lot safer — prettier fireworks, too,” he said.
Murray also recommends that anyone choosing to operate a grill on the holiday keep a fire extinguisher close by and operate the grill away from buildings and other structures. He also recommends keeping a good lid for the grill close by in case of flare-ups.
“I don’t really recommend doing it on wooden decks or right up there next to the house,” he said. “It’s good to have it on a good sturdy surface.”
Murray said with the hot weather Chesterfield County has seen in recent days, it is important for residents celebrating their independence not to forget their dependence on proper hydration.
Right now, the weather is supposed to be pretty hot,” he said.“Try to stay hydrated. Don’t overdo it with the activities and stuff.”
Though residents should drink lots of water, one thing Murray said people may want to think twice about drinking is alcohol.
“I don’t really recommend mixing alcohol with fireworks or grilling,” he said. “That’s a pretty big pastime with a lot of adults, to drink while they’re doing that. We really don’t recommend that. Whoever’s in charge of fireworks, I think, needs to stay sober.”
The town of Cheraw’s Independence Day celebration is scheduled today, July 2, beginning with the children’s parade at 10:30 a.m. The processional is planned for the 100 block of Market Street ending at Town Hall, with participants assembling behind Flemming Funeral Home.
Prizes will be presented for the most patriotic participant and the best-decorated bike and wagon. Refreshments will be served.
The celebration continues from 6-10 p.m. downtown on Second Street with music, games and pyrotechnics.
This is a free event with live entertainment provided by the Legacy Motown Revue band. Kids’ games, rides and concessions will be available, with fireworks set to light up the sky at dusk.
For information, call the Cheraw Recreation and Leisure Services Department at 843-537-8420.