by Krystal Smith, Red Cross North Texas Regional Digital Communications Specialist
Memorial weekend is the unofficial start of the summer when all of us begin enjoying the great outdoors and sunshine. In Texas, we know the summer also means road trips, barbeques and lots of pool time to cool off from the extreme heat.
While the summer time can be a blast, it can also quickly take a turn for the worse if precautions are not taken to ensure the whole family stays safe.
Here are the top tips for keeping your family safe during this summer’s festivities.
- Get Plenty of Sleep. Be well rested and alert, use seat belts, observe speed limits and follow the rules of the road.
- Don’t Drink and Drive. Have a designated driver available, even for short trips.
- Pay Attention. Give your full attention to the road. Avoid all distractions that divert your attention, such as cell phones.
- Be Careful. Watch for unexpected objects, people or wildlife to come on the road. Pay close attention in work zones.
- Leave Space. Don’t follow other vehicles too closely so you have time to react.
- Watch the Grill. Always supervise a barbecue grill when in use. Don’t add charcoal starter fluid when coals have already been ignited.
- Cook Outdoors. Never grill indoors – not in your house, camper, tent or any enclosed area.
- Keep Away. Make sure everyone, including pets, stays away from the grill.
- Use Appropriate Tools. Use the long-handled tools especially made for cooking on the grill to keep the chef safe.
- Take Precautions. Keep a fireproof pan under the grill to catch any falling ash or grease. Be ready to close the lid and turn off the grill if necessary.
- Take Swim Lessons. Make sure everyone in the family is a confident swimmer and aware of their limitation and how to avoid hazards. Know the signs of a person in distress and what to do to help prevent drownings.
- Wear a life jacket. Always wear your U.S. Coast Guard approved life jacket when in a boat and if in a situation beyond your skill level. Floatations devices are not a substitute for a life jacket.
- Know the Environment. Understand the differences in swimming in a pool, lake, river and ocean. Know your skill level in each environment and the hazard potentials including rip currents. Also, keep an eye out for changes in weather.
- Watch for Children. Adults should actively supervise children and stay within arm’s reach of young children and newer swimmers.
- Swim with a buddy. Everybody should swim with a buddy and near a lifeguard. If no lifeguard is present, take turns being a “Water Watcher” to help account for everyone in and around the water.
For more tips on staying safe this Memorial Day holiday weekend and throughout the summer, download the Red Cross “Emergency” app. This download will provide you with customizable weather alerts and safety tips in the palm of your hand.