by Arkesh Patel, volunteer contributor, American Red Cross North Texas Region
It’s almost that time of the year again where you see the crackling of fireworks, smell the freshly grilled food, feel the coolness of the water, and hear the laughters of your close ones. So how will you prepare to make sure your family not only has the best time possible, but also remain safe? That’s where the Red Cross would love to help! We’re offering the following safety tips to ensure your holiday is a memorable one:
The safest way to enjoy fireworks is to attend a public display put on by professionals. Stay at least 500 feet away from the show. Immediately, leave any area untrained amateurs are using fireworks. Before lighting any fireworks at home, check the city fireworks code. If fireworks are permitted, follow these safety steps:
- Never give fireworks to small children and never throw or point a firework toward people, animals, vehicles, structures or flammable materials. Always follow the instructions on the packaging.
- Keep a supply of water close by as a precaution.
- Make sure the person lighting fireworks 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.
Every year people are injured while using charcoal or gas grills. Here are steps to safely cook up treats for the backyard barbecue:
- Always supervise a barbecue grill when in use and never add charcoal starter fluid when coals have already been ignited.
- Never grill indoors – not in the 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 made for cooking on the grill to keep the chef safe.
If your holiday plans include water fun, follow these tips to help stay safe:
- Swim sober and with a buddy near a lifeguard. Take swim lessons to ensure everyone in the family is a competent swimmer.
- Actively supervise children and stay within arm’s reach of young children and newer swimmers. Wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life-jacket.
- Enclose your pool and spa with four-sided, four-foot fencing and use self-closing, self-latching gates.
- Reach or throw, don’t go! Know what to do to help someone in trouble, without endangering yourself; know how and when to call 9-1-1; and know CPR.
- Keep alert for local weather conditions. Check to see if any warning signs or flags are posted. Always follow the rules and listen to authorities.
With these tips, your Fourth of July is bound to be a surefire blast (pun intended)!
For weather alerts and more safety tips download the FREE Red Cross Emergency App.