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How you can safely celebrate this Fourth of July weekend

We're headed into the Fourth of July holiday weekend and many are hoping for entertainment, but with fun firework celebrations comes the possibility for danger.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — We're headed into a holiday weekend, and many of us are looking to have some fun. 

With that fun comes a possibility for danger, and for Dr. Randy Maddox, it could be a busy weekend. Despite it all, he said they're ready for whatever happens. 

"We've got prepared, we've looked at the call schedules, we'll look to see who's available," Dr. Maddox, Medical Director of the Emergency Department at UAMS, said. "Of course we have every specialty available and we just pray people make the right decisions and are safe."

Dr. Maddox knows that this weekend has the potential to put a patient in every bed in his department, especially if fireworks are used haphazardly.

"Regardless, it is not a safe item to use," he said. "These are explosive devices, it's once a year typically, and people just kind of go crazy with them."

This year, he said people have found even more reasons to get out there and shoot fireworks.

"They feel the need to go and celebrate and buy a bunch of fireworks and share that experience with their family," Dr. Maddox said.

It's not just emergency departments that are preparing for the holidays either, city officials are also getting ready for the upcoming weekend.

"Approximately 30% of our fires on this day are firework related," Little Rock Fire Chief Delphone D. Hubbard said.

It's also an issue that fire officials said is starting outside of the city limits. 

"It's obviously a very dynamic issue, and you have fireworks being sold just outside city limits," LRPD Sergeant Eric Barnes added. "We do know that fireworks are going to come back into our city."

Sgt. Barnes said there's a ban on fireworks for personal use in Little Rock, but that doesn't mean everyone follows that.

With that in mind, he also wants to urge people to be mindful of pets or neighbors that could be disturbed or triggers by the sound of the fireworks.

"People with pets that may be disturbed by these, you have to keep in mind our veterans as well that may have some type of reaction to the noise and explosion of some of the bigger fireworks," Sgt. Barnes said. "So just be a good neighbor [that's] the biggest message we have."

City officials and even Dr. Maddox are urging safety and courtesy this weekend, because the last thing you want is to end up in the hospital.

"This is potential for a harmful weekend, especially if the weather is nice," Dr. Maddox said. "People celebrating and having unexpected injuries are to be expected here, and we're prepared for any of those injuries."

The Little Rock Police Department plans to open an email address for reports of firework violations. 

Those who are injured can email LRPDFireworksViolations@littlerock.gov between 3 p.m. on July 1st until 1 a.m. on July 5th. After receiving the message, an officer will then investigate.

If you're unsure if your city has any limitations on fireworks, you can check your city's website.

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