For smooth sailing on the Fourth, don’t play with fire

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – With the weather this Independence Day predicted to be the best in years, law enforcement officers expect to be even more swamped than usual on the water.

Officers with Alabama Marine Police and the Department of Conservation will be patrolling the area’s lakes and rivers during the long holiday weekend.

Conservation Officer Joe Lindsey says the huge crowds can easily generate two to three-foot swells on the Tennessee River but it’s not the wakes he’s worried about. It’s the excessive drinking. Lindsey says, “that is something we take seriously. We have to deal with BUI, which is the same thing as DUI. Drinking and driving out here do not mix.”

BUI is a ticketable offense. However, there’s no prohibition against drinking and fireworks. That’s a concern of many first responders, who say consuming alcohol while shooting off fireworks can lead to some pretty serious injuries.

Don Webster of HEMSI says it’s extremely important for a sober adult to supervise any fireworks activities. “Every year, we see two or three moderate to severe to critical fireworks accidents in Madison County,” he adds.

While safety officials say they want everyone to have fun on the Fourth of July, they simple urge caution and common sense.