It’s time for Fourth of July celebrations – fireworks, a backyard barbecue, maybe a trip to the beach. Whatever you have planned, we want you to enjoy the holiday and be safe!
The safest way to enjoy fireworks is to attend a public fireworks show put on by professionals. Stay at least 500 feet away from the show. Many states outlaw most fireworks, but if you plan to set fireworks off at home, you should follow these safety steps:
- Never give fireworks to small children, and always follow the instructions on the packaging.
- Keep a supply of water close by as a precaution.
- Make sure the person lighting fireworks always wears eye protection.
- Light only one firework at a time and never attempt to relight “a dud.”
- Store fireworks in a cool, dry place away from children and pets.
- Never throw or point a firework toward people, animals, vehicles, structures or flammable materials.
- Leave any area immediately where untrained amateurs are using fireworks.
Every year people in this country are injured while using backyard charcoal or gas grills. Follow these steps to safely cook up treats for your backyard barbecue:
- Always supervise a barbecue grill when in use.
- Never grill indoors – not in your house, camper, tent, or any enclosed area.
- Make sure everyone, including the pets, stays away from the grill.
- Keep the grill out in the open, away from the house, the deck, tree branches, or anything that could catch fire.
- Use the long-handled tools especially made for cooking on the grill to keep the chef safe.
- Never add charcoal starter fluid when coals have already been ignited.
- Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using grills.
If your time at the beach you should listen to all the instructions and orders given by lifeguards. Other safety tips include:
- Keep alert for local weather conditions. Check to see if any warning signs or flags are posted.
- Swim sober and always swim with a buddy.
- Have young children and inexperienced swimmers wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket.
- Protect your neck – don’t dive headfirst. Walk carefully into open waters.
- Protect your feet – the sand can burn them and glass and other sharp objects can cut them.
- Watch out for aquatic life. Water plants and animals may be dangerous. Avoid patches of plants and leave animals alone.
- Keep a close eye and constant attention on children and adults while at the beach. Wave action can cause someone to lose their footing, even in shallow water.
Rip currents are responsible for deaths on our nation’s beaches every year, and most of the rescues are performed by lifeguards. Any beach with breaking waves may have rip currents. Be aware of the danger of rip currents and remember the following:
- If someone is caught in a rip current, swim parallel to the shore until out of the current. Once free, turn and swim toward shore. If that’s not possible swim to the shore, float or tread water until free of the rip current and then head toward the shore.
- Stay at least 100 feet away from piers and jetties. Permanent rip currents often exist near these structures.
Limit exposure to direct sunlight between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., and wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a protection factor of at least 15. Reapply sunscreen often. Remember to drink plenty of water regularly, even if not thirsty. Avoid drinks with alcohol or caffeine in them. Protect your eyes by wearing sunglasses that will absorb 100 percent of UV sunlight.
During hot weather, watch for signs of heat stroke—hot, red skin; changes in consciousness; rapid, weak pulse; rapid, shallow breathing. If it’s suspected someone is suffering from heat stroke:
- Call 9-1-1 and move the person to a cooler place.
- Quickly cool the body by applying cool, wet cloths or towels to the skin (or misting it with water) and fanning the person.
- Watch for signs of breathing problems and make sure the airway is clear. Keep the person lying down.