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Road, forest fire safety urged over Memorial Day weekend

The Clallam County Sheriff’s Office and the Washington State Patrol are seeking to make sure seat belts are worn and approved child seats are used over the Memorial Day weekend.

The local law enforcement agencies in Clallam County will be joined by other agencies in a special statewide emphasis patrol scheduled for Friday, May 25 and Saturday, May 26. 

The special patrols are part of the National Click It or Ticket (CIOT) Program.

The patrols are being coordinated by the Clallam County Target Zero Task Force.

Fines of $124 for each violation will be issued when a driver is stopped for failing to wear a seat belt properly, or if young children aren’t properly secured in a child seat or infant seat.

The driver of the vehicle is responsible for everyone under the age of 16 riding in their vehicle. Those 16 and older found not wearing a seat belt are responsible to pay the fine themselves.

Law enforcement statistics show that in the past five years, from 2007 through 2011, there have been 39 deadly traffic crashes resulting in a total of 43 deaths in Clallam County. Of that total, there were 14 individuals without seat belts on at the time of the crash were ejected from their vehicle. Six others were pedestrians who were killed by motor vehicles, while five more were on motorcycles and another one was riding a bicycle when struck by a car. So far in Clallam County there has been only one traffic death this year.

Traffic safety studies and crash investigations show that wearing aseat belt significantly decreases the chance of being ejected from a vehicle and suffering more serious injuries and death.

Prevent wildfires

The state Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is urging the public to help prevent wildfires over the Memorial Day weekend and throughout the summer. 

The extended holiday weekend is a traditional time for local residents to camp out, raising wildfire concerns.

The DNR lists clearing debris around campfire pits and using a shovel and water to completely extinguish campfires as two preventive measures. “Everyone is urged to be cautious and only build campfires in approved pits, where allowed,” a DNR press release states. “Firefighters have responded to 51 wildland fires so far this year.”

The DNR also suggest that before leaving home, always check to find out what the campfire restrictions are for the area you plan to visit.

Other fire safety tips include:

• If campfires are allowed; extinguish it properly before leaving;

• Never leave a campfire unattended at anytime;

• Drown fire thoroughly with water;

• Stir until cold;

• Drown fire again and stir;

Never leave a campfire until it is completely out and cool to the touch.

“For those people remaining at home, this is a good time to help reduce wildland fire hazards around the home and property by clearing excess debris, creating defensible space around the home, and following Firewise practices,” the DNR press release said. 

For more information on protecting your home and property from wildfire go www.firewise.org. 
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