If you are planning to spend the holiday at home with your family and plan on using fireworks, there are a few things to keep in mind to ensure you have a safe experience.
While it is legal to buy and use fireworks in the unincorporated areas of Jefferson County, there are some areas where the use of fireworks outside any city limits is prohibited. This includes within six hundred feet (600') of any church, hospital, asylum, public school, or within two hundred feet (200') of where fireworks are stored, sold, or offered for sale.
No person shall ignite or discharge any permissible articles of fireworks within, or throw the fireworks from, a motor vehicle while therein, nor shall any person place or throw any ignited article of fireworks into or at a motor vehicle or at or near any person or group of people.
It shall also be unlawful to offer for retail sale or to sell any fireworks to children under twelve (12) years of age or to any person known to be intoxicated or irresponsible. Fireworks may only be sold and used within the State of Arkansas from June 20th through July 10th and from December 10th through January 5th each year. Arkansas law (A.C.A. 20-22-711) does not specify or set the daily hours that fireworks may be used within those allowable date ranges; however, using fireworks outside of those dates constitutes a misdemeanor offense.
The law also provides for a fine of not less than $50 nor more than $200 or imprisonment for not more than 90 days, or both, for each offense.
If you live within the city limits of Pine Bluff, White Hall, Redfield, and any other city within Jefferson County, Arkansas then is it highly recommended that you contact the city police or city hall to learn about the city's regulations.
Here are a few other tips to keep in mind when using fireworks:
- Always have an adult closely supervise fireworks activities if older children are allowed to handle devices.
- Avoid buying fireworks that are packaged in brown paper because this is often a sign that the fireworks were made for professional displays and that they could pose a danger to consumers.
- Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse. Back up to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks.
- Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire or other mishaps.
- Never try to relight or handle malfunctioning fireworks. Soak them with water and throw them away.
- Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
- Light fireworks one at a time, then move back quickly.
- Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers.
- After fireworks have been ignited and discharged, douse the spent device with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding it to prevent a trash fire.
SUMMER WATER SAFETY TIPS
SUMMER WATER SAFETY GUIDE
In a survey conducted by the American Red Cross, many adults say they’ve had an experience where they nearly drowned, and one in four know someone who has drowned.
While over 90% of families with young children will be in the water at some point this summer, almost half (48%) plan to swim in a place with no lifeguard. With so many planning to be in, on or near the water, it is important to follow the basics of water safety, maintain constant supervision and to get trained!
PRACTICE WATER SAFETY
- Swim in designated areas supervised by lifeguards.
- Always swim with a friend; do not allow anyone to swim alone.
- Ensure that everyone in the family learns to swim well. Enroll in age-appropriate Red Cross water orientation and Learn-to-Swim courses.
- Never leave a young unattended near water and do not trust a child’s life to another child; teach children to always ask permission to go near water.
- Have young children or inexperienced swimmers wear U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets around water, but do not rely on life jackets alone.
WHEN SHOULD YOU WEAR A LIFE JACKET?
- Always wear a life jacket when boating or rafting and when using an inner tube or personal watercraft.
- Children and inexperienced swimmers should wear life jackets whenever in, or around the water, even if a lifeguard is present.
- Wear life jackets in open water, water parks or other challenging environments and around cold water and ice.
HOW MUCH TIME DOES IT TAKE TO DROWN? IN THE TIME IT TAKES TO…
- Cross a room for a towel (10 sec), a child in a bathtub can be submerged.
- Answer the phone (2 min), a child can lose consciousness
HOW MUCH WATER DOES IT TAKE TO DROWN?
- Inches of water in a bathtub.
- A bucket of water.
- Standing water on top of a pool or spa cover.
- Any amount of water that covers the mouth & nose.
SAFETY TIPS - WINTER DRIVING
Motorists never know what the weather is going bring, especially during a winter in Arkansas. That's why we encourage motorists to always carry tire chains in their vehicle during the winter.
It's true that under some conditions, vehicles rated at 10,000 pounds or less and not towing or being towed may be allowed to use traction tires in place of chains, but not always.
Generally, when you see a sign indicating that chains are required, here is what it means:
Vehicles towing, being towed or rated over 10,000 pounds gross vehicle weight (GVW) must use chains.
Vehicles weighing 10,000 pounds or less and not towing must use either chains or traction tires.
But you should be aware that sometimes the roads are so bad that everyone must use chains. That´s called a conditional closure. Under a conditional closure, no one goes through without chains, even if you´re driving a four-wheel drive with traction tires.
"Chains" include link chains, cable chains or any other device that attaches to the wheel, vehicle, or outside of the tire, which is specifically designed to increase traction in ice and snow conditions. A "traction tire" is defined as a studded tire. Studded tires are legal in Arkansas from November 15 to April 15. A "traction tire" may also be a tire that meets tests identified by the Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA) defining the tire as suitable for use in severe snow conditions.
Tires are the single most important mechanical component to safe driving. Your ability to control your car is based upon friction with the ground beneath your wheels. The only contact you have is through the tires. Under normal conditions the contact patch is about the size of your palm. Under heavy cornering, that patch may shrink to the size of your thumbprint. Therefore the condition of your tires is critical, even more so in winter driving. If your tire tread is getting thin, replace your tires.
Slick road conditions require that your steering, acceleration and braking be smoother. Any actions you take as a driver result in weight shift that decreases the stability of your vehicle. The harsher the action, the more weight shift occurs and the harder it is to control. So if you jerk the wheel or stab the brakes, you are much more likely to lose traction and begin to slide. Small mistakes can become big problems. So slow down, keep your eyes up and, whatever you do, do it smoothly.
Remember that it takes longer to stop on slick roads, so give yourself a break and increase your following distance.
The single most important thing to remember when driving in inclement weather is: You must slow down!
Winter brings longer hours of darkness with decreased visibility. Do you realize that if you have a headlight out, you can only see half as well as you should? If headlights are out of alignment, that also hampers your ability to see. You can´t avoid what you don´t see.
Traffic signs and roadway markers are reflectorized and can create the false impression that you can see much farther than you can. In reality, the things you see are artificially illuminated; the things you run into are not. You can´t avoid what you don´t see.
Check all your lights to be sure they are working properly. Brake lights and turn signals are there to let other drivers know what you´re going to do, but that doesn't work if you forget to use the signals.
HOLIDAY SHOPPING SAFETY TIPS
"The holiday season is here and shoppers are crowding malls and discount stores to buy the latest gadgets and find the best deals. Shoppers need to make sure they are not neglecting their safety. This time of year attracts more shopping-related criminal activity because of the larger crowds and the extended store hours. These factors and the usual distraction of shopping, creates a more favorable environment for petty thieves and other offenders."
We would like to remind all Jefferson County residents to follow these safety tips:
A single shopper is the best target for theft. Always shop with a friend or relative. When going shopping, tell someone where you are going and what time to expect you to return. Also, make sure they know what you are wearing, as well as the type of vehicle you are driving.
Shop during daylight hours. If you shop at night, park your vehicle in a well-lit area.
Dress casually and comfortably and avoid wearing expensive jewelry. If carrying cash, keep it in your front pocket rather than in a purse or wallet. This makes it much more difficult for a pick-pocket to remove. Also store car keys in a pants or jacket pocket. If your purse is stolen, you will still be able to drive home.
Pay careful attention to your surroundings and avoid overloading yourself with packages. It is important to have clear visibility and freedom of motion to avoid mishaps.
When returning to your vehicle, check around it and in the back seat. Be aware of strangers approaching you for any reason. Have your car keys in your hand to avoid spending unnecessary time unprotected from the security of your vehicle.
If you feel uneasy returning to your vehicle alone, find a security guard and ask them to walk you to your car.
During this time of year, busy holiday shoppers become careless and vulnerable to other crimes as well. Credit card fraud and gift card fraud are on the rise. However, taking a few preventive measures can help.
When it comes to credit card fraud:
Keep a close watch on your credit card every time you use it, and make sure you get it back as quickly as possible.
Never write your PIN number on your credit card.
Never leave your credit cards or receipts lying around.
Shield your credit card number so that others around you can’t copy it or capture it on a mobile telephone or other camera.
Only carry credit cards that you absolutely need.
Shred anything with your credit card number written on it.
If you’re planning to purchase online, make sure the web page where you enter your credit card information is secure through SSL (Secure Socket Layer). You can tell if the web page is secure by looking for the gold lock or key icon at the bottom corner of your browser window.
If you’re not comfortable submitting your information through the internet, call the seller and give them your information over the telephone. Never send your credit card information via email.
Check the company out. Only do business with companies that provide a physical address and telephone number.
Keep good records. Always print out a copy of any online products or services you purchase.
Regarding gift card fraud:
Never buy gift cards from online auction sites. This is a large source of gift card fraud. Many of the gift cards are stolen, counterfeit or used.
Only buy gift cards directly from the store issuing the gift card or from a secure retailer’s website.
Don’t buy gift cards off of publicly displayed racks in retail stores. Only purchase gift cards at the sales terminal from the cashier.
Always carefully examine both the front and back of a gift card before you buy it. If you see a PIN number, ask for a different card. If the card looks like it has been tampered with in any way, put it back.
Always ask the store cashier to scan the gift card in front of you. This will guarantee that your card is valid when you buy it and that it reflects the balance you just charged it with.
Always keep your receipt as a proof of purchase as long as there is money stored on the gift card.
If possible, register your gift card at the store’s website
Never give your Social Security number, date of birth or any other unneeded private information when purchasing a gift card. No reputable company will ask for this information.
“In light of these problems, we would like to warn shoppers to be careful so that they don’t become the victim of criminal activity. Unfortunately, when shopping, people have a tendency to let their guard down; however, paying attention and taking precautions can help eliminate your chances of being victimized.”
LABOR DAY SAFETY ADVISORY TIPS
The Labor Day weekend is a time when families tend to travel together, have cookouts and enjoy a relaxing weekend. However, we want to make sure that the fun does not result in injuries that could have been prevented. During holidays such as Independence Day, Memorial Day, and the upcoming Labor Day weekend, many accidents involving impaired drivers results in serious physical injury or death. We do not want there to be any deaths this weekend. If one person dies, it is one too many. It is our job to protect drivers as well as boaters and get any impaired drivers off the road. However, the best way that drivers can remain safe is to practice safe driving habits. The best way to stay safe is to plan ahead when preparing for trips over Labor Day weekend.
BURGLARY PREVENTIVE TIPS FOR RESIDENTS
Here are some tips to help reduce residential burglary levels in Jefferson County.
- Make your home look occupied, and make it difficult to break in.
- Lock all outside doors and windows before you leave the house or go to bed even if it is for a short time.
- Leave lights on when you go out, and if you are going to be away for a length of time, connect some lamps to automatic timers to turn them on in the evening and off during the day.
- Keep your garage door closed and locked.
- Don't allow daily deliveries of mail, newspapers or flyers build up while you are away. Arrange with the Post Office to hold your mail, or arrange for a friend or neighbor to take them regularly.
- Arrange for your lawn to be mowed if you are going away for an extended time.
- Check your locks on doors and windows and replace them with secure devices as necessary. Push-button locks on doorknobs are easy for burglars to open. Install deadbolt locks on all your outside doors. Sliding glass doors are vulnerable. Special locks are available for better security. Other windows may need better locks. Check with a locksmith or hardware store for alternatives.
Don't Tempt a Thief:
- Lawn mowers, barbecue grills and bicycles are best stored out of sight. Always lock your garden sheds and garages.
- Use curtains on garage and basement windows.
- Never leave notes on your door such as “Gone shopping.”
Locks…Get the Best!!!!!!
- No lock, regardless of its quality, can be truly effective. Key-in dead bolt locks provide minimum security. Ask a locksmith for advice on your situation.
- Change locks immediately if your keys are lost or stolen.
- When moving into a new home, have all locks changed.
Targeting the Outside:
- Have adequate exterior lighting. A motion-sensitive light is recommended for backyards.
- Trim trees and shrubs so that they cannot be used as hiding places for intruders.
- Make sure your door hinges are on the inside.
Most windows can be pinned for security. Drill a 3/16" hole on a slight downward slant through the inside window frame and halfway into the outside frame - place a nail in the hole to secure the window.
An alarm system is excellent for home security. It provides peace of mind to homeowners, especially while on vacation. There is a wide variety of alarm systems on the market. Make several inquiries to different companies for the best security system available to you. If you have a home alarm system, use it! Activate your alarm system — Alarm systems are only useful when you remember to activate them. Many individuals have alarm systems but do not arm them because it is inconvenient. Many burglars know this and will not be deterred by a window sticker or sign indicating that the home has an alarm system.
If your home is broken into or you find an unexplained open/broken window or door:
- Do not enter - the perpetrator may still be inside.
- Use a neighbor's phone to call police.
- Do not touch anything or clean up until law enforcement have inspected for evidence.
- Write down the license plate numbers of any suspicious vehicles.
- Note the descriptions of any suspicious persons.
Other precautions you should take:
- Never leave keys under doormats, flowerpots, mailboxes or other “secret” hiding places -- burglars know where to look for hidden keys.
- Keep a detailed inventory of your valuable possessions, including a description of the items, date of purchase and original value, and serial numbers, and keep a copy in a safe place away from home — this is a good precaution in case of fires or other disasters.
- Make a photographic or video record of valuable objects, heirlooms and antiques. Your insurance company can provide assistance in making and keeping your inventory.
- Trim your shrubbery around your home to reduce cover for burglars.
- Be a good neighbor. If you notice anything suspicious in your neighborhood, call 9-1-1 immediately.
- Mark your valuables with your driver's license number with an engraver you can borrow from your precinct. Marked items are harder for a burglar to dispose of and easier for police to recover.
- Form a Neighborhood Watch Group. We can help you work with your neighbors to improve security and reduce risk of burglary.
- Consider installing a burglar alarm system.
Tips on how to avoid car break-ins:
- Do not leave valuables in plain view:
(GPS devices, lap tops, PDA’s, cell phones, MP3’s, wallets, purses)
- Do not leave windows or sunroof open.
- Do not leave doors unlocked.
- Do not leave keys in the vehicle.
- Do not leave the garage door opener in plain view.
- Do not leave out items with personal information.
- Do not move valuable items to the trunk while in public view.
- Slow Down and use common sense before you leave your car.
SAFETY TIPS OFFERED FOR HOLIDAYS
The holidays are a time when thieves and con artists are frequently on the prowl. Here are some tips from the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office to help keep your home, your car, your possessions, and your family safe.
Keeping Your Home Safe
- We all want our homes to reflect the joy of the season, but avoid displaying gifts where they can be seen from a window or doorway.
- Arrange to have packages delivered to a neighbor if you're not home to receive them. Packages left on porches or doorsteps are "easy picking" for thieves. It also draws unwanted attention to your home.
- Consider simple outside decorations. Elaborate or large lawn pieces are often stolen right out of the lawn.
- Be sure not to obscure the view from your windows. You need a clear view of your property.
- Always lock your home's doors and windows, even if you're only gone for a few minutes.
- Compact or dispose of packaging discreetly. Often criminals will spot something you've discarded and can target you for their next burglary or theft.
- When leaving town, have a trusted friend or neighbor take care of your home.
- Never cancel general deliveries such as mail, newspapers, and other services when leaving town or going on vacation.
- Notify your local law enforcement authorities when you're planning an extended absence. They can issue a vacation watch or extra patrol for your home.
Keeping Your Neighborhood Safe
- First, share these tips with your neighbors. Establish a network with your neighbors and make a plan for mutual protection and notification.
- Get your Neighborhood Watch group together and go caroling. Visit the elderly and others in your area that may be isolated during the holidays.
Staying Safe While Shopping
- Always lock your car and close the windows, even if you're only gone a few moments. When possible, lock all merchandise or packages in the trunk of your car. Load your packages before departing, not at the next destination.
- Shop with at least one partner. Have your car or house key in your hand as you approach the door. If attacked use those keys as weapons!
- Stay alert to your surroundings and the people around you. Look inside your car and around it as you approach.
- Be extra careful with purses and wallets. Carry a purse under your arm. Keep wallets in an inside pocket.
- Avoid carrying large amounts of cash.
- Avoid street vendors -- many times these hucksters are selling stolen or unlicensed merchandise.
- Plan your trips. Instead of one big shopping trip, try several small ones. This will cut down on the amount of money you carry, the packages you'll be encumbered with, and it will make your shopping less stressful.
- Walk everywhere with a sense of purpose - show you are calm, confident and know where you are going.
- Park in well-lighted areas that will be well-lighted when you return.
Keeping Your Credit and Identity Safe
- If you write checks, use only the necessary information, name, address, phone number. Never give your social security number.
- Safeguard your credit cards and checks as you do cash. Do not leave them in jacket pockets or sitting out in restaurants, stores or hotel rooms.
- Keep your purse or wallet on you. Shoulder straps should cross your body, not dangling from your shoulder. Do not lay them in a shopping basket. Be sure they are closed securely.
- Make a list of all your credit cards, debit cards and checks with account numbers. Keep the list in a secure place at home.
- Notify issuers immediately if your card is lost, stolen or misused.
- Take your time when making a purchase. Be sure you collect your license, credit card, or check book and your receipt.
- Keep your receipts and reconcile your statement. Promptly report any discrepancies to the issuer.
- Consider Direct Deposit of your payroll or benefit checks; it's safe and convenient and prevents the theft of your checks.
ABOVE ALL, IF YOU ARE VICTIMIZED, REPORT IT TO LAW ENFORCEMENT IMMEDIATELY.
SAFETY TIPS OFFERED FOR HALLOWEEN
Halloween is fast approaching and we expect large groups of children out and about that evening. Our primary concern on Halloween, and any other time, is the safety of children and with that in mind the Sheriff’s Office would like to offer the following safety tips. It is a good idea to review these with your children before they begin their “trick or treat” adventure too.
1. Fake knives, swords, guns, and other costume accessories can potentially cause injury. Make sure they aren’t too long for the costume and review with your child that they are part of the costume and not a weapon. Make sure they are made out of cardboard or other flexible materials.
2. Only purchase costumes and accessories that are marked flame resistant.
3. Keep costumes short to prevent trips and falls.
4. Try using make up instead of a mask. Masks can obstruct a child’s vision, which can be a dangerous thing when kids are crossing streets and going up and down steps.
5. Costumes with light colors and/or reflective tape are best. Someone in the group should carry a flashlight. Consider putting reflective tape on their bags too.
6. Kids should always trick or treat in groups, rather than alone, preferably with adult supervision and carry a cell phone for quick communication.
7. Parents should select the safest route for children to take. Children should stay on sidewalks (where available) or on the shoulder of the roadway facing traffic. Children should avoid walking in the roadway, in alleys or poorly lit areas and be cautious not to dart from behind shrubs or parked vehicles. Drivers should slow down and use extreme caution, especially in neighborhoods where children are sure to be located.
8. Children should be instructed to stop only at familiar homes and where the outside lights are on. They should also be advised to NEVER go into a home or car to collect treats. They should not stop at houses that are dark or do not have the porch lights turned on.
9. As an alternative of going door to door, parents should consider taking their children to community sponsored events such as those hosted by community centers, churches, schools, etc.
10. Children should be told not to eat any treats until they get home and the parent or adults can examine them.
11. Children (and adults) should only consume unopened candies and treats in original wrappers. Treats with open packaging or torn wrappers should be discarded. Don’t forget to inspect fruit and homemade treats for anything that looks suspicious.
Halloween can be a safe and enjoyable evening with a little preparation, communication and diligence.
Of course, we will be on patrol and available to you and your children should you need us.
Thank you for your cooperation.