Celebrating the 4th of July is a great way to spend quality time with your family. Remember to keep these helpful hints in mind and make safety part of your plans wherever you go and in whatever you do.
Rockets Red Glare
Americans have always enjoyed the sights and sounds of fireworks to celebrate our national day of independence. The holiday just wouldn’t seem the same without the sounds of Whistling Petes and the pungent aroma of burnt potassium nitrate wafting through the air.
Fireworks, by nature, are capable of providing excitement and great joy. They are also capable of causing great sorrow. In 2014, 10,500 fireworks related injuries were treated in emergency departments across the country. Children under 15 accounted for 35% of these visits.
In addition to personal injury, thousands of fires are started each year resulting in a significant loss of personal property including homes, cars, RVs and boats.
If you want to be 100% safe around fireworks this 4th of July try attending a fireworks display conducted by trained professionals.
If you insist on lighting fireworks yourself remember the rules provided by the National Safety Council and follow them closely:
- Know your fireworks; read the cautionary labels and performance descriptions before igniting.
- A responsible adult SHOULD supervise all firework activities. Never give fireworks to children.
- Alcohol and fireworks do not mix. Save your alcohol for after the show.
- Wear safety glasses when shooting fireworks.
- Use fireworks OUTDOORS in a clear area; away from buildings, vehicles, and a dry combustible landscape
- Never relight a “dud” firework or experiment with homemade fireworks.
- Always have a bucket of water and charged water hose nearby.
America Celebrates with Food
Also, no 4th of July celebration would be complete with some tasty barbecue. If you plan to grill over the holiday remember to keep it safe as well:
- Open the grill lid before you light it.
- Never leave a grill unattended.
- Make sure you use the grill 10 feet away from your house.
- Keep children away from the grill and the grill lighter.
- Don’t light the grill inside a garage, even if the door is open. Never use a barbecue indoors or in tents. This is a dangerous fire hazard and can cause high levels of carbon monoxide.
- Make sure the barbecue is on flat ground or a stable base and away from fences and hanging branches.
- Light barbecues with a long match or mechanical lighter specific to barbecues. Use long-handled tools and flame-retardant mitts. Do not wear loose clothing!
- Be aware of the wind blowing sparks. Have a fire extinguisher, bucket of water or a garden hose nearby should a fire start. If it’s a grease fire, never use water; instead spread baking soda over the flames.
- If you need to move the barbecue, allow it to cool completely.
Stay Cool with Lots of Liquid
On busy hot summer days it is easy to forget the importance of staying hydrated. This is always important but even more so when you’re in the sun participating in games and holiday activities.
- During and after most physical activity, it doesn’t matter whether you drink water or sports drinks as long as you drink something to replace fluids.
- For re-hydration after short periods of routine exercise, water is fine.
- After extended periods of exercise or exertion, sports drinks containing carbohydrates and electrolytes help prevent dehydration and restore important minerals that are lost when you sweat.
Screen Yourself From The Sun’s Powerful Rays
People who get a lot of exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays are at greater risk for skin cancer. Sunlight is the main source of UV rays, but you don’t have to avoid the sun completely. And it would be unwise to stay inside if it would keep you from being active, because physical activity is important for good health. But getting too much sun can be harmful. There are some steps you can take to limit your exposure to UV rays.
Simply staying in the shade is one of the best ways to limit your UV exposure. If you are going to be in the sun, “Slip! Slop! Slap! and Wrap” is the American Cancer Society’s catchphrase that can help you remember some of the key steps you can take to protect yourself from UV rays:
- Slip on a shirt.
- Slop on sunscreen.
- Slap on a hat.
- Wrap on sunglasses to protect the eyes and skin around them.