Officials give terror threat, safety warnings for July 4 weekend

As we approach the holiday weekend, local and federal officials are warning Hoosiers about the growing terror threats during fireworks shows.

The TSA is taking steps to raise awareness and they're telling Hoosiers "if you see something, say something."

"We're seeing an increase in violence and threat reporting. And with the fourth of July weekend coming up, we're asking the public to remain vigilant in what they see and what they report," said FBI Special Agent Kevin Lyons.

The Indianapolis Department of Homeland Security will deploy all of the city's law enforcement assets this weekend: the SWAT Team, the Emergency Response Group with assistance from the Indiana State Police and federal agents. Independence Day activities will be closely monitored with downtown cameras and the latest in technologies. And while law enforcement officers may have its guard up, the general public seems to have surrendered holiday security to police, RTV6's Jack Rinehart reported.

At the end of last year's Fourth of July celebration, the city had a terror incident downtown. An 18-year old shot and killed a 16-year old outside Circle Centre Mall. Police said the suspect recognized the victim as a member of a rival gang.

Indianapolis Homeland Security Chief Gary Coons said safety is the top priority.

"We're going to try and stay out of sight and have a mind where people can enjoy what they're here for. We'll respond as needed. We're going to be out there and make sure everyone stays safe," Coons said.

Meanwhile, while law enforcement agencies are monitoring the skies, emergency officials are urging Hoosiers to use caution around fireworks to prevent from getting burned.

Health officials say that each year, hundreds of children and adults are maimed and injured by fireworks.

"The most common things we see are burns. We see a lot of people who have been burned either from a spark flying off or getting hit by something. We also see a lot of eye injuries. That's not uncommon as people will aim a firework at somebody, it will hit them in the eye so we see some pretty serious eye injuries," said EMS Dr. Dan O'Donnell.

They may seem harmless, but even sparklers can burn at nearly 2000 degrees Fahrenheit, hot enough to cause third-degree burn. 

Experts say that wind speed and wind direction should be taken into account when lighting amateur fireworks. Just one split-second mistake or misfire can cause a lifetime of recovery or even death.

"Any firework is combustion. It's something exploding, so it doesn't necessarily have to shoot something out or fire something to be very hot and potentially cause injury," O'Donnell said.

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