Increased police patrols planned downtown, elsewhere in Baltimore for the Fourth of July

Baltimore police plan to increase patrols at the Inner Harbor and elsewhere in the city Tuesday in anticipation of large crowds filling downtown for the July 4th holiday.

Police are urging residents and visitors to plan ahead and expect congestion and temporary street closures near the Inner Harbor, the site of the city's evening fireworks display, and at viewing spots in Federal Hill, Locust Point, Fell's Point, Canton and Harbor East.

"Baltimore City will have an increased deployment of police officers, both within the event area and across the rest of Baltimore city," Baltimore Police Chief Melissa Hyatt said during a joint police and fire press event at Oldtown Fire Station on Hillen Street, where officials announced steps to beef up security.

The city police plan increased road patrols, additional uniformed officers helping with traffic control and extra security through use of the CitiWatch camera network and a command post in the city, Hyatt said.

Fire officials reminded those celebrating that it is illegal to buy or set off fireworks in the city.

Fireworks and even sparklers, which "produce a tremendous amount of heat," cause numerous burns and injuries each year, said Lt. Kevin Williams of the Baltimore City Fire Department Office of the Fire Marshal.

Hospitals across the United States treat an estimated 11,900 people for fireworks-related injuries each July Fourth, according to statistics from the National Fire Protection Association.

"Emergency rooms get filled every year with injuries from children and young adults playing with fireworks," Williams said. "Please enjoy the professionals as they do firework displays."

Jennifer Martin, director of the Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response at the Baltimore City Health Department, encouraged people to limit outdoor activities during the hottest part of the day between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. and to drink fluids to prevent hyperthermia and dehydration.

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