The first holiday of the summer is upon us and as 4th of July is celebrated the Dunkirk Police Department has a few safety tips that could make your celebration safe and happy.
Fireworks are a traditional part of celebrating 4th of July and can be a safe and enjoyable part of the holiday if left to the professionals. With the exception of licensed professionals, possession and use of dangerous fireworks are illegal. Use of dangerous fireworks can cause serious injuries especially to children. Selling furnishing or exposing for sale any dangerous fireworks to persons under the age of 18 can now be punishable by a felony which can carry a sentence in excess of one year in jail. Anyone arrested for just possessing fireworks can be punished by up to a year in jail. Anyone who possesses fireworks can turn them into the Dunkirk Police Department without worry of being charged. We have issued a zero-tolerance order on arrests related to possession and use of dangerous fireworks.
There will be a fireworks display at dusk on July 4th and we invite everyone to come to the waterfront and enjoy the show. If possible please park in the city parking lots near Second Street and Washington Avenue and Third Street and Central Avenue and walk to the waterfront area. Avoid parking in the OBSERVER's parking lot. Due to the heavy amount of traffic this helps alleviate traffic congestion. When leaving the area after the fireworks please use Central Avenue, Main Street, Brigham Road and South Roberts Road, as they will provide the quickest routes away from the waterfront area. Many traffic lights will be on flash and there will be Police Officers and Fire Police at intersections, please be patient with them and follow their directions. All efforts should be made to avoid Lake Shore Drive as it will have heavy traffic volume during the evening.
On July 4 the entire pier will be closed to vehicular traffic at Central Avenue, beginning at 5 p.m. for safety reasons. This includes access to the boat launch and marina area. Once the fireworks are concluded the pier will be re-opened from Central Avenue to the boat launch building. Please note the pier will remain closed to vehicular traffic from the boat launch building to the end of the pier Thursday to allow for proper clean up of the fireworks display and then set up for Music on the Pier. Anyone who operates their vehicle around the barricades or against the direction of Police, Fire Police and Department of Public Works officials will be subject to appropriate charges.
Those who will be enjoying the city's parks and beaches are also reminded to obey all of the rules regarding alcohol consumption; no glass containers allowed in any city park areas, noise, dog restrictions/cleaning up after them and parking regulations. Please keep all dogs on a leash and a safe distance from other people. We also remind pet owners that some animals can be sensitive to loud noises so please make sure to keep an extra eye on them during July 4th activities. A 4th of July family holiday outing can be ruined by those who disregard the laws and are not courteous.
We remind everyone about bicycle safety rules: all bicycles must follow the rules as if they were operating a motor vehicle, helmets are required for bicyclist under the age of 14. All pedestrians who walk in the roadway must walk against traffic and you can't obstruct traffic.
Also, this holiday and as always, if you have celebrated to much and can't safely and responsibly operate your vehicle, please don't. Have a designated driver, find a designated driver, walk or take a taxi. Real friends won't let someone they love get behind the wheel and operate a vehicle when they know it can't be done safely. Avoid confronting aggressive drivers and report any unsafe operation to the Police. Please remember to wear a seatbelt and make sure that children are properly secured in a child safety seat. It's a proven fact that seatbelts and child safety seats save lives.
Please pay attention throughout the summer for large crowds along the waterfront areas and around the city during festivals and on weekends. Please slow down and watch for pedestrian traffic.
The 4th of July and entire summer can be a very safe and happy time for everyone if we all are responsible and courteous and have respect for others by following the rules.
We wish all our area residents and visitors a happy and safe summer season.