Fourth of July

Residents asked to be patient, stay safe during holiday week

2012-07-02T18:03:00Z 2012-07-03T12:38:03Z Residents asked to be patient, stay safe during holiday weekBy Lindsay Machak, (219) 933-3246

As the heat index climbs to nearly 105 degrees over the holiday, local officials are asking residents to keep a cool attitude for the festivities.

Reminding holiday commuters to have patience is the No. 1 concern for Munster Police Chief Steve Scheckel.

He said people should be prepared to cope with crowds when venturing out to fireworks shows.

“Get there early,” he said. “Expect delays leaving when you're attending fireworks or traveling.”

Indiana State Police are advising people to be patient while traveling for the holiday and to not drive aggressively. While many city side streets will be detoured or shut down for parades and fireworks, a part of Interstate 94 also could see delays Tuesday morning.

The American Veterans Traveling Tribute is expected to slow traffic on the Borman Expressway and I-94 in Porter County as it moves with a police escort from Hammond to Westville.

The caravan carrying the exhibit will stop briefly at Cabela’s in Hammond before police, fire and veterans’ vehicles escort the exhibit to Purdue North Central in Westville about 10 a.m.

Organizers are expecting hundreds of motorcycles and other vehicles to join the procession along the expressway’s eastbound lanes into LaPorte County. The procession will exit at U.S. 421 and travel south to the PNC campus.

While state police will be handling the escort for the tribute, they also will be allocating extra patrols for the rest of the week, according to a news release.

About 150 additional troopers will be on the road until Sunday looking for motorists who speed, follow too closely, make unsafe lane changes, drive aggressively and fail to buckle up.

Troopers also will be watching for drunken drivers.

On the water, Indiana Department of Natural Resources conservation officers will be watching for boaters who drink and drive, officer Gene Davis said.

“To whoever is going to be driving the boat, don't drink any at all,” he said.

The effects of drinking can be more intense on the water, he said.

Heat also will add to the intensity of travel this weekend, forecasters said.

Officials with the National Weather Service predict temperatures will settle in the 90s for the holiday with a heat index up to 105 degrees.

Cooling centers are open across the region for the holiday and for days after.

Extended exposure to heat and humidity creates concern for law enforcement officials working the holiday, Scheckel said.

Heat exhaustion is also a concern for anyone who will be out during parades and other events, he said.

People who plan to enjoy the holiday outdoors should stay hydrated and watch for signs of heat exhaustion such as fatigue, dizziness and nausea, he said.

“Be sure to bring plenty of water wherever you go,” Scheckel said. “Bring plenty of snacks and blankets out to fireworks if you go. Make sure to wear sunscreen, and I think the big thing is always just be patient and try to enjoy the holiday.”

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