The Fourth of July is a festive time. Not only are there celebrations of the nation’s independence all across the country, but many people take the opportunity to turn the holiday into a long weekend. This year, July 4th is on a Tuesday, so 2023 vacationers will get several days of fun at the beach or elsewhere. Whether a family is staying home or hitting the road, however, safety should be top of mind. Here are several tips from the American Red Cross for folks to think about as they observe Independence Day.
Using Fireworks Safely
For people who watch public displays put on by professionals, keeping a distance of at least 500 feet is best. Those who set off their own at home should remember to follow certain rules. First and foremost, small kids must not be allowed to have fireworks. In addition, folks need to refrain from throwing or pointing fireworks at people, animals, vehicles, structures, or flammable materials. It is also recommended that whoever is lighting the fireworks not only wear eye protection, but also keep water close at hand and avoid the temptation to relight a dud.
Enjoying Picnics Safely
There is more to Independence Day celebrations than fireworks. Many people like to enjoy a nice picnic. For those who do, making sure the food is safe and fire prevention measures are in place is extremely important. Here are some rules to follow for people who are cooking or eating outside this summer.
- Food should not be left out in the hot sun.
- Perishable foods can be kept cool with ice or freezer gel packs.
- Hand-washing before food prep or eating is always important.
- It is best to keep charcoal starter fluid away from coals when they are being lit.
- Grills should be away from homes, structures, and trees.
Being Safe in the Water
Whether a person is swimming in a pool, river, lake, or beach area, being safe around water is critically important, and there are many rules everyone should follow before they take a dip. For instance, if there is any sign of lightning or thunder, people should get out immediately and not return to the water until at least 30 minutes after the last flash or rumble. In addition, children should always be supervised around water. Here are some other things to keep in mind.
- It is important for children, inexperienced swimmers, and all boaters to wear properly fitted life jackets that are approved by the U.S. Coast Guard.
- The swimming environment in an ocean, lake, or river is different than that of a pool and extra precautions are necessary.
- Folks should only swim in designated swimming areas and obey all instructions from lifeguards.
- Swimming alone is dangerous – the buddy system is much safer.
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Protection from the Sun
Getting a sunburn can hurt for a few days. Worse yet, it can be very dangerous to get too much sun. People should protect their skin with appropriate clothing, hats, cover-ups, and sunscreen. And remembering to reapply is always important.
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