10 safety tips for cops on the 4th of July

The Independence Day holiday can increase the number of intoxicated knuckleheads you’re likely to encounter on your shift


Editor’s Note:

Editor’s Note: If you haven’t yet seen it, Andrew Hawkes shared some basic reminders about keeping safe during the hot days and nights of summer. Now is not a bad time to review Hawkes’ 5 everyday safety essentials for summertime patrol. In addition, Tom Burrell covered floodwater safety for cops, which also has some excellent reminders in the context of performing a water rescue, since many of our Independence Day celebrations take place near picturesque bodies of water. Stay safe this weekend!

The months of June, July, August, and September tend to bring a wee bit more of ‘the crazy’ than is typical in the ‘dead of winter.’ The Independence Day holiday in particular can increase exponentially the number of intoxicated knuckleheads you’re likely to encounter on your shift. Here are 10 basic reminders as you head out on patrol on July 4th.

1. Fireworks can be weapons. Don’t disregard that fact if you’re making contact with partiers.

2. Drunk drivers can hit you, too — both while on patrol and when you’re off duty. Watch the road.

3. The 4th can be hot. If you’re working, stay hydrated.

4. Do the math: Lots of people + 4th of July consumption + heat = Recipe for disaster. Stay sharp. Remember that drinking and a charged up crowd can inspire some people to be more confrontational with police than they would normally be. Be ready for that.

5. Crowds can quickly get unruly during mass celebrations. Be smart and wait for back-up if you predict you might need it.

6. Repeating #3, the 4th of July can be hot. Wear your vest anyway!

7. Bone up on your holiday-specific first aid. Are you ready for first responder treatment of missing fingers, a variety of burns, a bottle rocket to the eye, alcohol poisoning, dehydration, etc.?

8. Don’t forget your own kids. You likely caution others about the dangers of screwing around with fireworks (and other explosives), drunk driving, drinking too much, etc. Make sure your own kids are included in that discussion.

9. Refresh yourself on water rescue protocol and procedures. Lots of people are in the water during the 4th weekend. Be ready if you’re called to a water-related incident.

10. Make sure you’ve got a fire extinguisher in your car. With fireworks being lit, the potential for a fire is definitely there. If you’re prepared to act early, you can help avoid a bigger problem.

The Independence Day holiday always serves as a powerful reminder of why our country is great. Be proud of what you do to protect it. We certainly are. Stay safe out there, always.

About the author

Doug Wyllie is Editor at Large for PoliceOne, responsible for providing police training content and expert analysis on a wide range of topics and trends that affect the law enforcement community. An award-winning columnist — he is the 2014 Western Publishing Association "Maggie Award" winner in the category of Best Regularly Featured Digital Edition Column — Doug has authored more than 900 feature articles and tactical tips. Doug is also responsible for planning and recording the PoliceOne Podcast, Policing Matters, as well as being the on-air host for PoliceOne Video interviews. Doug also works closely with the PoliceOne Academy to develop training designed to prepare cops for the fight they face every day on the street.

Doug regularly represents PoliceOne as a public speaker in a variety of forums and is available for media interviews — he has appeared on numerous local and national radio and television news programs, and has been quoted in a host of print publications. 

Doug is a member of International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association (ILEETA), an Associate Member of the California Peace Officers' Association (CPOA), and a member of the Public Safety Writers Association (PSWA).

Contact Doug Wyllie

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  3. Evergreen
  4. 4th of July

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