4th of July Safety Tips from the American Red Cross

Category: Personal Insurance

Every year the American Red Cross outlines some common-sense tips to keep everyone safe from injury, fire, drowning, sun damage and more on Independence Day. Follow these tips to have a safe and worry-free 4th of July.

Fireworks Safety

Many states outlaw setting off fireworks at your home, so the best bet is to go to a public fireworks show. Even public shows have dangers; be sure to stay at least 500 feet away from where the fireworks are being ignited.

If your city or town allows certain types of fireworks at home, you must proceed with caution. Follow all manufacturer instructions and keep children far away. Never allow children to light fireworks. Keep water on hand at all times, and wear eye protection in case of flying debris and projectiles. Light only one firework at a time, don’t try to re-light a “dud,” and never throw or point a firework toward people, animals, vehicles, structures or other flammable materials.

Your best bet: leave the fireworks to the professionals!

Grilling Safety

Even though most of us use our grills regularly, it’s never too late to brush up on some common sense safety precautions.

  • Don’t leave your grill unsupervised while food is cooking.
  • Never grill indoors or in a camper, tent or other enclosed area.
  • Keep children and pets away from the grill.
  • Use the grill away from flammable materials or structures.
  • Use long-handled grill tools.
  • Never add charcoal starter fluid when the coals are already ignited.
  • Follow manufacturer instructions specific to your grill.

Beach Safety

When you head off to the beach, be sure that everyone in your party is a good swimmer and knows the rules for beach or ocean swimming.

  • Swim at a lifeguarded beach within the designated swimming area.
  • Obey all lifeguard instructions.
  • Be aware of weather conditions and pay attention to posted warnings at the beach.
  • Don’t swim alone.
  • Children and inexperienced swimmers should wear a life vest.
  • Don’t dive into the water head first; walk slowly into the water instead.
  • Pay close attention to children and everyone in your party; waves can cause anyone to lose their footing.
  • Avoid dangerous plants and aquatic animals.

Be especially careful to avoid rip currents. Rip currents are extremely dangerous and cause deaths every year. If you get caught in a rip current, swim parallel to the shore until you escape the current, then turn and swim toward shore. It is also recommended that you stay at least 100 feet away from piers and jetties, where rip currents are prevalent.

Sun Safety

A serious sunburn can ruin anyone’s day at the beach or pool. If you plan to be out in the sun on the 4th of July, wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15, and remember to reapply often.

To avoid heat stroke and other heat-related illnesses, drink plenty of water and avoid alcoholic and caffeinated beverages. Signs of heat stroke include hot skin, changes in consciousness, rapid or weak pulse, and rapid, shallow breathing. If you suspect someone has heat stroke, call 9-1-1 immediately, and move the person to a cooler place.

What fun activities do you have planned for July 4th? What do you do to keep your family safe?

Source: American Red Cross

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