4th of July safety tips

SARASOTA, Fla. (WFLA) — Be sure to keep your family safe this Independence day wherever you may go to watch fireworks and guzzle down as many hot-dogs as possible.

The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office recommends these safety tips:

Plan ahead where you will watch the fireworks and arrive early.

Large crowds mean lots of traffic. Be patient when it comes to parking.

Watch for signs indicating where parking is permitted or restricted.

Leave valuables at home.

Do not buy or bring fireworks that leave the ground or explode; they’re not legal for recreational purposes and can be confiscated or result in criminal charges.

If you have small children, seniors or a special needs individual with you, take a cell phone photo that shows what they look like and what they’re wearing. This will help law enforcement find them if they become separated from you.

If you have pets at home, keep them secured inside your home during the celebrations. Even dogs in fenced yards find ways to escape scary sounds.

If you plan to watch fireworks from the water, remember you’ll be heading in after dark. Be sure to check navigational lights in advance and have flares and an emergency flashlight on board. When you return to shore, go slow, eliminate distractions and use a capable passenger to act as a spotter.

However you choose to celebrate this weekend, stay safe and if you’re going to drink, designate a sober driver.

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