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Bowser Administration Announces Fourth of July Safety Preparations

Tuesday, July 2, 2024
Residents and Visitors Encouraged to Plan Ahead and to Sign Up for Alerts by Texting JULY4DC to 888-777

(Washington, DC) – In preparation for the Fourth of July, the Bowser Administration is sharing the latest updates on the District’s preparations for Fourth of July celebrations, including the Capitol Hill Fourth of July Parade, the Palisades Fourth of July Parade, the ‘Fourth of July in the District Concert,’ and the National Park Service fireworks show on the National Mall.

Residents and visitors are encouraged to sign up for Fourth of July text updates on public safety impacts, road closures, weather alerts, and more by texting JULY4DC to 888-777. Residents and visitors can also visit to sign up to receive real-time updates on traffic, weather, and public safety and follow @AlertDC on X.

Beginning at 5 pm on July 4, Metrorail, Metrobus, or MetroAccess will be free to ride until the system closes. Please visit for alternative public transportation options into and out of the city, as well as any Metro closures. 

As part of the District’s regional collaboration to support a safe holiday, coordinate resources, and manage communications across jurisdictions, the Bowser Administration will activate the District’s Emergency Operations Center and Joint Information Center on July 4. 

High temperatures are forecasted for the Fourth of July, with a likely heat index of 100+ degrees. Residents and visitors should limit their time outdoors and recognize the signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion and stroke. Symptoms may include dry red skin, convulsions, throbbing headaches, disorientation, chills, delirium, and coma. Onset of heat stroke can be rapid; a person can go from feeling apparently well to a seriously ill condition within minutes. If you suspect that you or someone you know is experiencing a heat-related illness, call 911.

Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) outdoor pools and spray parks will be open on July 4, while indoor aquatic centers will be closed. Recreation centers and community centers will be closed with the exception of 10 recreation centers that will be open for general use as cooling centers from 11 am – 7 pm; for locations, visit To find a cooling center nearest you or for more information, visit    

“It’s going to be extremely hot and humid this Fourth of July,” said DC Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency Acting Director Clint Osborn. “It’s critical that residents and visitors stay hydrated, take breaks in the shade, and look out for one another.”

The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) will stage buses along the National Independence Day Parade route to act as cooling centers beginning at 9 am. The buses will be stationed at:

  • 18th Street and Virginia Avenue NW (the end of the parade route)
  • 12th Street NW, north of Constitution Avenue
  • 7th Street NW, between Jefferson Drive and Constitution Avenue NW

Road Closures 
There are extensive street closures for the Fourth of July celebrations occurring across the city. Find an interactive map of all street closures HERE.

Motorists could encounter possible delays if operating in the vicinity of these events and should consider alternative routes or use public transit. The Metropolitan Police Department and DDOT remind motorists in the vicinity of this event to proceed with caution as increased pedestrian traffic can be anticipated. As always, do not drink and drive.

Motorists are reminded that stopping or standing is prohibited on any city streets or roadways to observe the fireworks. Motorists should expect to be ticketed and/or towed if found in violation. For timely traffic information, please follow @DCPoliceTraffic on X.

Please visit for additional road closure information from the National Park Service.

Watercraft Restrictions
The following watercraft restrictions will be in place on the Potomac River from approximately 9:00 a.m. on July 4, until July 5 at 9:00 a.m.:

  • There will be a designated anchorage zone north of the 14th Street Bridge on the east side of the Potomac River (West Potomac Park shore side); this zone will be just north of the 14th Street Bridge complex to south of the Arlington Memorial Bridge. Anchoring will be allowed until 9 am on July 5.
  • There will be a watercraft safety zone north of the 14th Street Bridge on the east side of the Potomac River (Washington, DC side); this zone will be just north of the entrance to the 14th St Bridge Complex to just north of the Arlington Memorial Bridge. This means no boating, no anchoring.
  • Watercraft will be allowed to anchor outside of the channel north of the Theodore Roosevelt Bridge and south of the 14th Street Bridge.
  • There may be intermittent travel restrictions between the 14th Street Bridge and the Theodore Roosevelt Bridge between the hours of 8:30 pm – 10 pm on July 4.

Safety Go Teams
District Government will implement multi-agency community outreach and engagement efforts on July 4 and July 5. Mayor Muriel Bowser is activating Go Teams to support existing cookouts/events in the community. Safety Go Teams will be across the city and focused on minimizing the number of reported firework related incidents, gun violence, and criminal activity in hotspot neighborhoods.

“As we celebrate the Fourth of July, we want everyone to have a great time and enjoy our beautiful city safely,” said Deputy Mayor for Public Safety and Justice Lindsey Appiah. “We’re boosting public safety resources throughout the weekend and urging the community to collaborate with us to ensure everyone’s safety.”

“We want the Fourth of July to be a joyful and safe occasion for our residents and our visitors, and we urge everyone to prioritize safety above all else,” said Chief of Police Pamela A. Smith. “The Metropolitan Police Department stands ready to safeguard the festivities across the District of Columbia to make sure the holiday is safe for everyone.”

Fireworks Safety Tips
To report the sale or presence of illegal fireworks, call 202-673-ARSON or submit tips to Please only call 911 to report emergencies. 

  • Do not use illegal fireworks.
  • Never allow children to handle fireworks.
  • Always read and follow label directions.
  • Only ignite fireworks outdoors.
  • Always have water or sand nearby to extinguish fireworks after use.
  • Never experiment or attempt to make fireworks.
  • Light fireworks one item at a time.
  • Never relight malfunctioning of dud fireworks.
  • Store fireworks out of the reach of children.
  • Store fireworks in a cool, dry place.
  • Never throw fireworks at another person.
  • Never carry fireworks in your pocket.
  • Stand at least 15 feet from burning cones and fountains.
  • Do not light fireworks near combustibles, such as gasoline, newspapers, etc.
  • Do not ignite fireworks that have been wet and then dried.
  • Do not light fireworks at any place other than the fuse.
  • Only use items that have the label clearly listing the manufacturer’s name, address, and warnings.

“We all love fireworks, but let’s all make sure to be safe this holiday and not use illegals fireworks,” said DC Fire and EMS Chief John Donnelly. “Fireworks that move, explode, or fly are illegal in the District of Columbia. Please make sure you and your family hydrate properly, wear lightweight and loose clothing, know the signs of heat-related illness, and know where to find shelter. Together, we will have a safe and happy July Fourth.”

Cooking Safety Tips

  • Prevent fires by keeping your oven and stove top clean of grease and dust.
  • Double check everything is off when you finish.
  • Never disable a smoke alarm while cooking.
  • Never cook while sleepy, drinking alcohol, taking medication that makes you drowsy.
  • Never leave a stovetop or barbecue grill while cooking.

Mayor Bowser X: @MayorBowser
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