New Year’s Eve Safe: What to avoid during the holiday season

HARLINGEN — The holidays are known to be exciting times for families and loved ones, however they can spark unwanted situations.

The Harlingen Fire Department and the Harlingen Police Department discussed the possible situations one could encounter and what should be avoided.

One being the proper way to handle fireworks and the other the increased risks of drunk driving during the holidays.

Firework Safety

According to Asst. Fire Marshall, Joey Albritton said fireworks are not legal in the Harlingen city limits. However, those who partake in using them can pay attention to their tips in order to avoid a tragedy.

“We recommend seeing a show that is put on by professionals. In Harlingen it is not legal to discharge fireworks but in general safety keep children away,” he said.

“It is also important to know fireworks and alcohol don’t mix. Also be cautious of the type of clothing you are wearing,” Albritton said.

Another tip he gave is to never pick up a firework as you are lighting it. It could go on in your hand and surroundings such as dry vegetation should be kept in mind.

“The wind speed is important. Also never aiming them at other people and once the device is lit you stay back a distance,” he said.

“If a firework malfunctions, never re light one that did not go off. Keep a bucket of water and put it off. Be mindful on who is around you,” Albritton said.

According to him and an article from the National Safety Council in 2017 said eight people died and 12,000 were injured because of firework misuse.

Drunk Driving rises

Not only are fireworks a risk during the holiday season but the increase of drunk drivers is too according to Sgt Larry Moore.

he Harlingen Police Department received an impaired mobilization step grant to increase patrolling in the streets because people are known to drink more during these days.

“The majority of drinking and driving occurs on evening hours but there have been cases of intoxicated drivers in the afternoon and even mornings,” he said.

The patrolling runs through January 1st, and officers will be targeting intoxicated drivers.

“One of the safety issues is to be aware of surroundings. Look left and right before crossing intersection and drive as safe as you can,” Moore said.

“Anybody can drink at any time and get behind the wheel,” he said.

According to him the enforcement period is not just during the night because of the uncertainty of drunk drivers.

Sgt. Moore advises the community to follow the department’s advice and avoid an incident.

“Have a designated, take a lyft or stay home with your family and friends. Don’t risk your life or the life of someone else’s family. It is just not worth it,” he said.

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW

Tips and guidelines for New Year’s Eve safety

  • See a firework show put on by professionals preferably.
  • Keep small children away from them and supervise others.
  • Do not pick up it up as you light it.
  • Do not drink and drive
  • Get a designated driver or use an Uber or Lyft.
  • Spend the night.

ecavazos@valleystar.com