Earlier today, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone joined with officials from the Suffolk County Police Department, Suffolk County Fire, Rescue and Emergency Services, and local Fire Chiefs to provide safety tips for residents ahead of the Fourth of July, as well as demonstrate the dangers of possessing and using fireworks. During the event, police officials showcased the dangers of fireworks by igniting a collection of pyrotechnics in a residential shed, a typical storage place for illegal fireworks.
See photos from the event available here.
See b-roll of County Executive’s opening remarks here.
A rush transcript of the County Executive’s remarks is available below:
Thank you for joining us here at Smith’s Point County Park as we prepare to celebrate the 4th of July holiday. I was actually coming from a ceremony, which is apropos today honoring Corporal Chris Levy who is a double amputee, an Iraq war veteran who was injured. The Tower to Tunnels foundation built their first home in Suffolk County. As we celebrate the 4th of July and celebrate our independence, since 1776, we all recognize that our freedom and independence are dependent upon people like Chris Levy who serve our country and are willing to go to foreign lands and sacrifice. So thank them.
We are here today to talk about the 4th of July and how we all love to get together and celebrate. Celebrate our country’s independence and gather together with our families and our loved ones and our friends and have a great time as a country. It’s a unifying day for our country. Sometimes we have these heated battles in our country and it’s easy to forget that we are one great country and the 4th of July is always a great time to celebrate that we are Americans and we’re proud of that.
What we want to talk about today is making sure that everybody has a safe 4th of July. That‘s why I’m proud to be here with all of my colleagues in law enforcement and emergency services. We have with us first all my colleague on the legislature but he’s here in his fire capacity today, the Mastic Fire Department Chief Rudy Sunderman, also of course from the Suffolk County Police, our commissioner Geri Hart will be saying a few words in just a moment before she starts blowing things up, our Suffolk County Chief of Department Stuart Cameron, and we have our Deputy Commissioner Jim Scopack, so I want to thank the police department, we also are joined by the Deputy Commissioner of Fire Rescue and Emergency Services John Jordan, we also have Tim Crafts, chairman of the FRED commission, Carl Grover, chief of the Mastic Beach Fire Department, Scott Thiebault, President of the Fire Chief’s Council of Suffolk and I want to note that Sheds USA who provided the shed today. It’s not going to be in too good shape soon, but we appreciate their donation.
I really want to thank all of our law enforcement personnel and especially our first responders who are going to be out there all day tomorrow while we’re celebrating with family and friends, they’ll be ready at a moment’s notice to respond to an emergency, to respond to an accident that happens to make sure people are safe in our community and that’s what they do each and every day, take time away from their lives and their families and their friends to serve us. And I want to say thank you. That is certainly the case on 4th of July.
What we’re talking about today is how do we have a safe 4th of July? We want everyone to come down to Smith’s Point, go to other parks and beaches and have a great time on the 4th of July. It should be another hot day like today so it’s a great day to come down to Smith’s Point County Beach but we also know that it’s a day where there are a lot of injuries as a result of the illegal use of fireworks. The United State Consumer Protection Agency indicates that an average of 230 people in the United States visit the emergency room with fireworks-related injuries around the 4th of July holiday every year. We always hear about these incidents happening and they are unnecessary, preventable injuries. In 2017, fireworks accounted for approximately 1200 emergency department treated injuries associated with sparklers nationwide.
Now those statistics and these statistics are alarming, but preventable. Children should not be allowed to use or ignite fireworks or sparklers. That’s why Suffolk County, with Legislator Rudy Sunderman, put forward legislation to ban sparklers here and to make sure they are out of the hands of our children. And this is something I know was very important to the fire services here. They did a tremendous job and I want to say kudos to them and thank them for their leadership on this issue. In addition to the great work of our fire departments, and fire rescue and emergency services personnel, Suffolk County will be exercising zero tolerance when it comes to the possession, use and sale of illegal fireworks. Of course, we do not want to take away from the spectacle of a fantastic fireworks display or the joy of celebrating the 4th of July holiday.
Therefore, let me point out the many places throughout Suffolk County where our residents and visitors can enjoy a professional fireworks display throughout the weekend from our western towns all the way to the East End. From the Connetquot River fireworks display, which is happening today to the spectacular fireworks, show at Bald Hill on 4th of July tomorrow. The tremendous fireworks show in Riverhead on the 5th and on Shelter Island on the 7th. And the post-game fireworks display at the Long island Ducks stadium on the 7th as well. There are others as well. There are many places to watch an amazing fireworks show and you can do it and have a great time and make sure everyone is safe as well. Fireworks are a great way to celebrate the 4th of July holiday and our independence, but be smart and stay safe. That’s our message here today. Leave the fireworks to the professionals.
With that, I’d like to turn this over to our police commissioner, Geri Hart.