DC officials address Fourth of July safety plans

- D.C. leaders came together to lay out their plans to keep the public safe over the Fourth of July weekend.

Heat exhaustion, illegal fireworks and drunk drivers are just some of the problems District law enforcement and fire crews will have to deal with this holiday weekend.

D.C.’s fire chief said if it were up to him, everyone would come down to the National Mall to watch the professional fireworks.

"This is the only one day of the year that we put a sparkler, which goes to 1,200 degrees, in a small child's hand,” said D.C. Fire and EMS Chief Gregory Dean. “Why do we do that?”

The director of the District Department of Transportation said if he had it his way, all tourists and residents would stick to public transportation, but knowing that likely will not happen, officials have a plan in place that includes lots of extra security. (MORE: July 4th road closures and parking restrictions)

But as tourists and residents flood the nation’s capital to celebrate Independence Day, world events like the airport bombings in Istanbul and the call from ISIS for more attacks on the west during the holy time of Ramadan, which ends July 5, are also being taken into account.

“Has it changed specifically for our security planning for the Fourth of July? There have been some small changes, but we have a pretty tight security plan for the Fourth of July with our partners, so it's nothing significant and nothing that should change the ability of people to come here and just feel safe and still celebrate,” said D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier.

She said the majority of the police force will be on duty. She also said there are no known terrorist threats to the District of Columbia.

Typically, the biggest risk factors other than dealing with health and intense heat are the large crowds and potential for children to be separated from families along with burns due to unsafe firework practices.

Officials are asking people to pitch in and help out those who will spend their time working to protect the public.

“We should pause to reflect on all the government workers, but especially public safety officials who are spending time away from their own families to keep our city safe,” said D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser.

Surge No. 2 of Metro’s SafeTrack program will continue through the weekend, but there will be no track work on July 4. (MORE: What you need to know about riding Metro on July 4th)

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