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L.I. Residents Warned About Dangers Of Fireworks, Drunk Driving Ahead Of July 4

Fireworks (file/credit: CBS 2)

Fireworks (file/credit: CBS 2)

WOODBURY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — From fire to the dangers of fireworks, there are plenty of warnings to heed heading into the holiday.

While fireworks are illegal to buy and possess in New York state, they make their way from states where they are sold legally, like Pennsylvania.

However, police warn fireworks can explode too soon or too late.

“They’ll light it and can’t get away in time…and other times they’ll look down the tube, at the mortar and it will go off then,” Suffolk County Police Inspector Stuart Cameron told CBS 2’s Carolyn Gusoff on Monday.

Just last week, a Bellport man blew his hand off.  It was one of 10,000 fireworks injuries each year, law enforcement said. Sparks can also ignite brush fires.

“Don’t become a statistic. Don’t become a casualty statistic, don’t become an arrest statistic,” said Suffolk County Police Chief James Burke.

Police are sounding another holiday warning following two lost lives in the last two weeks.

Teenager Brittney Walsh — on the road — and Christopher Mannino — on the water– were each killed by accused drunks at the wheel.

“This is an epidemic. There are 2 million drivers we are sharing the road with on any given day, who have at least three prior convictions for drunk driving,” Rep. Steve Israel said.

Drunk driving and boating deaths on Long Island are on the rise, so holiday patrols will be out in force, police said. The sister of a police officer, who was hit and brain-damaged by two drunk drivers, urged everyone to simply plan ahead.

“Designate someone ahead of time. If you start to drink and have a good time, your responsibility kinda goes by the wayside,” Danielle Rella said.

Just last week, Congress approved funding for research for a new in-car driver alcohol detection system, but that could be two years down the road.

To stay safe this holiday, officials said watch a public fireworks display and designate a driver. Nearly one-half of traffic fatalities during the July 4 holiday are caused by drunk drivers, experts said.

What safety precautions will you take this July 4th?  Share your thoughts in the comments section below…