The Fourth of July brings the excitement of backyard barbeques during the day and awe-inspiring firework shows at night. However, as Pew Research describes, Fourth of July weekend is also considered the most dangerous and deadliest weekend of the year. Emergency rooms experience thousands of patients on normal weekends for a variety of causes, but Independence Day adds a high number of firework, alcohol and water-related injuries to the list.
There’s no reason to let these statistics dampen your enthusiasm. Most – if not all – Independence Day accidents can be avoided by observing a few standard safety precautions. Implement the following tips to ensure that your Fourth of July remains a fun weekend of relaxation and entertainment.
Leave the Fireworks to the Professionals.
More fires are started on Fourth of July than any other day of the year, and firework related incidents account for roughly half of reported fires each year. To reduce the risk of a home fire or a wildfire, opt for a professional fireworks show instead of lighting fireworks yourself.
Check your local listings for local fireworks shows. If there are no fireworks shows nearby, or if you are unsure of attending due to coronavirus, opt for other holiday activities and leave the fireworks alone this year.
If You MUST Light Your Own Fireworks, if it is Legal to do so Where You Live, Follow These Guidelines:
- Keep children at a safe distance.
- Keep a portable fire extinguisher nearby.
- Follow the instructions on the packaging.
- Wear eye protection when lighting fireworks.
- Light fireworks on a dry, flat, open area away from people, pets and flammable materials like leaves, trees, and brush. Never light fireworks indoors or in a wooded area.
- Trash can fires are the number one call firefighters receive on the Fourth of July. Avoid starting a trash fire by dousing all fireworks with water before throwing them away.
- Don’t make your own fireworks or buy illegal fireworks.
- Don’t underestimate sparklers. Sparklers burn at about 2,000 degrees. Children are often handed sparklers to enjoy, but this is a dangerous practice that requires close adult supervision.
- Light only one firework at a time, never relight a “dud,” and do not light fireworks while intoxicated.
More than 50,000 fires are caused by fireworks every year. During Fourth of July weekend, homes are particularly susceptible to accidental fires. If you go away for the holiday, you’ll want to ensure that your home is safe from fires caused by improperly lit fireworks or other means, and you’ll need more than a smoke alarm to get the job done.
A home fire alarm system should come with 24/7 monitoring and be equipped with the latest technology. Professionally installed home fire systems are expertly designed to suit your space and provide you with the maximum protection available. With a monitored fire system, you can rest assured that your house will be as safe as it can be from fires whether you’re home or away.
- Don’t take your pets to firework displays, leave them alone in a car, or unattended outside.
- If possible, take your pets to a safe, quiet location if your home is likely to be inundated with firecracker noise.
Beach or Pool
- Do not use this holiday as a time to learn how to swim. Only engage in water activities if you are already a proficient swimmer.
- Make sure there is a lifeguard on duty at all times.
- Keep a first aid kit nearby, or ensure that the pool has one on hand.
- Watch your children closely.
- Implement sunscreen guidelines and best practices.
- Always review safe boating practices before heading out.
- Never consume alcohol while driving a boat.
- Ensure that there are enough life jackets on hand for every passenger.
Picnic and Grilling
- Don’t leave food out in the hot sun. Keep perishable foods in a cooler with plenty of ice or freezer gel packs.
- Wash your hands before and after handling food.
- Keep pets and children away from the grill.
- Always grill outdoors and away from the house. Remove anything that could catch fire from the space around the grill.
- Do not operate the grill while intoxicated.
- Keep insect repellant on hand. Follow these instructions to make your own DIY repellent.
A little bit of prevention goes a long way. Use these simple and effective safety tips to help you celebrate this Independence Day with pride – and without mishap.
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