Last updated: July 02. 2014 7:24PM - 1054 Views
By - gsowinski@civitasmedia.com



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LIMA — Sheriff Sam Crish doesn’t oppose people getting together for cookouts or having fun.


It’s the Fourth of July, after all.


The sheriff just wants people to be safe. He will be placing extra deputies on the roadways to try to make the weekend safe.


The biggest problems officers handle during the Fourth of July holiday are calls about fireworks, loud music and people drinking and driving, Crish said.


“It’s every year,” he said.


Crish urges people who attend parties to not drink and drive. Use a designated driver or call for a ride, he said.


“We certainly want them to enjoy the holiday. We just want people to be safe,” he said.


The Fourth of July holiday is a big travel weekend. An estimated 41 million Americans are expected to travel between Wednesday and Sunday. That number includes 1.67 million Ohioans, said Kimberly Schwind, a spokeswoman for AAA Ohio Auto Club.


The Ohio State Highway Patrol will have extra troopers on the interstate and highways, too. They will be looking for impaired drivers to remove from the roads to keep other motorists safe.


Evelyn Smith of Lima-Allen County Regional Planning Commission urges people who drink to not drive, to choose a designated driver who has not been drinking, or call a taxicab. A person also could spend the night where a party is held.


In 2011, 251 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes on July 4, according to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.


Putnam County Sheriff Mike Chandler said he will have extra deputies on the roadways looking for impaired drivers. He said the holiday has had its share of crashes in the past and he wants to see zero accidents.


“Law enforcement officers will have zero tolerance for those who drink and drive,” Chandler said.


Every year, within a week leading up to July 4, the Allen County Sheriff’s Office and other agencies receive calls of fireworks being set off or shots fired. People sometimes mistake gunshots for what actually are fireworks, Crish said.


Regardless, officers respond taking valuable time, he said.


Setting off fireworks in Ohio is illegal, Crish said.


Additionally, it’s dangerous. Every year, there are people locally who are injured setting off firecrackers or hanging onto firecrackers while lighting fireworks only to have it explode in the person’s hand and that person get injured, he said.


The Ohio Department of Health is urging people to properly prepare food so people don’t get sick. Cooking meats to the right temperature, refrigerating uneaten food in a timely manner and washing fruits and vegetables are important food-safety measures.


The agency also urges people to use insect repellent to keep away bugs that may carry diseases.


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