Md. State Police offer travel and safety tips for July 4th weekend

July 03, 2008|By HEATHER KEELS

WASHINGTON COUNTY -- Local authorities are gearing up for the traffic congestion and increased recreational activity that traditionally accompanies the Fourth of July weekend with extra highway, waterway, park and fire safety patrols.

Maryland State Police anticipate the heaviest traffic congestion will occur late Thursday afternoon and recommend leaving extra early or after 7 p.m., according to a press release from Sgt. Chris Sasse of the Maryland State Police barrack in Frederick, Md.

Delays also are possible Sunday, particularly in Frederick, where several thousand motorcycle enthusiasts are expected to participate in the Barbara Fritchie Classic motorcycle race, Sasse said.

Police recommend taking items such as books, summer homework and movies on car trips to keep children occupied in the event of a long delay, Sasse said.


Travelers also should be aware of Maryland's new child safety seat law, which requires all children younger than 8 to be secured in a child safety seat, such as an infant seat or booster seat, unless the child is 4 feet 9 inches tall or taller or weighs more than 65 pounds, according to the Frederick County Sheriff's Department.

Maryland Natural Resources Police plan to increase waterway patrols this weekend and aggressively target boaters operating in a reckless or negligent manner or under the influence of alcohol, the agency said in a press release.

Patrols also will focus on boaters not maintaining a proper lookout and not having the required safety equipment on board, Sgt. Ken Turner said.

July historically has been the month with the most boating accidents, with 47 boating accidents statewide last July, Turner said.

Boaters always should wear a lifejacket and avoid operating a vessel after drinking alcohol, Turner said.

Natural Resources Police officers also will patrol parks and forests in search of underage alcohol possession, individuals driving under the influence, use of illegal fireworks and other criminal activity, Turner said.

Help calm pets through fireworks celebrations

While Fourth of July fireworks can be beautiful and exciting to people, the Humane Society of Washington County is warning that they often are terrifying to pets.

"I don't think that fireworks and pets are a good mix for most animals," Longmeadow Animal Hospital veterinarian Tracy Barlup said in a humane society press release. "It is beyond their comprehension and oftentimes very scary."

Previously content dogs have been known to dig under fences, break through glass windows and run out doors to get away from the frightening noise and flash of fireworks, humane society spokeswoman Katherine Cooker said. Typically, the humane society takes in more stray dogs during the days following the Fourth of July than any other time of year, Cooker said.

The humane society recommends the following steps for protecting pets this holiday weekend:

· Leave your pet at home.

· Make sure your pet is secure.

· If you know the noise will disturb your pet, stay at home with them.

· Close all drapes, blinds and window shades.

· Leave the TV or stereo on to provide some familiar background sounds.

· Make sure their favorite blanket or toy is nearby for comfort.

· Consider consulting their veterinarian to see if he or she can prescribe calming agents.

· Consider purchasing a "Comfort Zone" spray or plug. The product contains calming pheromones similar to those produced by a puppy's mother.

· Be sure your pet is wearing current identification.

· If your pet gets loose, report it to the Humane Society of Washington County.

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