Have a Safe and Happy 4th, Long Island!

July 02, 2024

LIHC 4th Blog

Its July! We are officially in the swing of summer and the party has just begun! The red, white and blue outfits are out, and now that we can all wear white pants again, it’s time to celebrate the Independence Day. Celebrating July 4 usually includes time with our friends and family in the summer sun and the festivities usually go well into the night. Normally accompanied by drinks in hand and fireworks in the sky, this fourth can look a little different when we take a peek at the safety concerns these two more risky “traditions” can present.


Watching fireworks is usually a 4th of July staple. Everyone and their dogs hear the fireworks on the 4th and even throughout the rest of the summer. Fireworks are a commonly used and exciting light show spectacle when done safely and with care, but not everyone should handle them.

Although a beautiful tradition with some dangerous side effects, fireworks are labeled “use with caution” for a reason. Fireworks are not fully legal in the state of New York, the purchase and use of them is not open to the public out of safety concerns. These concerns pertain to that fact that fireworks operate by setting off a gunpowder like substance to make them explode with the bright colors and intricate images they may form. In 2021, the Consumer Product Safety Commission recorded nine deaths and 11,500 injuries caused by fireworks. In 2022, the commission reported 11 deaths and 10,200 injuries, 38% of which were critical burns.

The good news is there are some alternatives to fireworks that are safe and fun for the whole family! Leave the major fireworks displays to the professionals and try out these alternatives instead:

  • Sparklers or other sparkling devices, which are legal!
  • Confetti
  • Glow sticks
  • Laser shows and light displays
  • Paper lanterns
  • Bubbles

Summer is meant to be enjoyed, but we should all work together to have fun and be safe! When celebrating anything this summer, look for safe firework alternatives to protect yourself and others, as well as looking out for more unnoticed dangers.

Drinking and Traveling Safely on the 4th

The Fourth of July is the holiday to celebrate freedom and independence, and in 2023, Americans celebrated the fourth with an estimated $4 billion of alcohol. Drinking has amounted itself to be the pastime of the holiday, with beer taking the lead on drink of choice. In 2022, 68% of alcohol sales were beer. The Fourth of July is one of the highest drinking holidays in the United States, on par with New Years Day and the night before Thanksgiving, commonly known as “Blackout Wednesday,” in some circles.Despite having roots back to the original Independence Day, alcohol does not have to define your fourth.

Binge drinking and excessive drinking have been defined by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as have five or more drinks in on occasion or having between 8 and 15 drinks per week. The fourth has been declared the most dangerous day for motorists and pedestrians under the influence. The Institute for Traffic Safety Management and Research (ITSMR) recorded 1,542 crashes caused by impaired driving in 2023 on Long Island alone. Of these crashes, there were 116 fatalities. So far in 2024, we’ve seen 262 impaired driving related crashes, with four fatalities. 89 crashes involved pedestrians with almost 50% fatalities in 2023 and 6 in 2024.

 There is a chance to help these statistics going into Thursday, by being alert and using these safety tips if you or someone you know chooses to partake in any alcohol related activities:

  • Plan ahead, establish a sober ride home or volunteer to be the designated driver for those around you. Wear your seatbelt and stay vigilant with your eyes on the road.
  • Pace yourself, although it is a holiday, binge drinking can have both short and long term effects on your health.
  • Find other ways to have fun, outdoor games, helping with the food, and sober swimming are just a few ways to celebrate safely.

Check out these tips from Walk Safe Long Island for driving, walking, and biking safely on the 4th.

Remember that even one drink can impair function without even noticing, look out for yourself and others when celebrating Independence Day. Thursday is a day to remember our nation’s past and celebrate a hopefully positive future, remember that both fireworks and alcohol are not the only ways the celebrate. And if you choose to partake, do so mindfully and safely, Happy July!