This may seem like a lot of rules and regulations for going to have fun, but having fun safely is how you keep from turning these fun activities into a nightmare.
The safest way to enjoy fireworks is to attend a public firework show put on by professionals. Stay at least 500 feet away from the show. Many states have outlawed most fireworks. Leave any area at once where untrained amateurs are using fireworks. Always assign a responsible sober adult to supervise activities. Fireworks cause over 19,000 fires every year. Take the proper precautions when using fireworks.
If you are setting fireworks off at home, 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 always wears eye protection.
- Light only one firework at a time and never try to relight “a dud.”
- Store fireworks in a cool, dry place away from children and pets.
- Never disassemble or try to make your own fireworks.
- Don’t point sparklers, or fireworks at yourself or others, especially when lighting them.
PICNIC & FOOD SAFETY
July is one of the peak months for grilling fires. Enjoy grilling your favorite meals this summer while also keeping your family safe.
- Wash your hands before preparing the food.
- Don’t leave food out in the hot sun. Keep perishable foods in a cooler packed with plenty of ice or freezer gel packs.
- If you are going to cook on the grill, never grill indoors. Keep the grill out in the open, away from the house, the deck, tree branches, or anything that could catch fire.
- Always supervise the grill when in use. Don’t add charcoal starter fluid when coals have already been ignited. Use the long-handled tools especially made for cooking on the grill to keep the chef safe.
- Make sure everyone, including pets, stays away from the grill. Check gas grill hoses for cracks, holes, and leaks. Gas leaks, blocked tubes, and propane tanks can cause grill fires and explosions.
BEACH AND WATER SAFETY
As July is one of the hottest months of the year, many families turn to water activities to beat the heat. However, even fun water activities have serious risks if you don’t take the proper precautions.
- Watch the weather and get out of the water at the first sign of lightning or the rumble of thunder. Stay indoors and away from water for 30 minutes after the last lightning flashes or thunder roars.
- Swim only at a beach with a lifeguard, within the designated swimming area. Obey all instructions and orders from lifeguards and ask them about local conditions.
- Always designate a “water watcher” whose sole responsibility is to keep a close eye and constant attention on everyone in and around the water until the next water watcher takes over.
- Children, inexperienced swimmers, and all boaters should wear properly fitted U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets.
- Protect your neck – don’t dive in headfirst. Walk carefully into open waters. Watch out for and avoid aquatic life.
- If you are caught in a rip current, stay calm and don’t fight it. Swim parallel to the shore until you are out of the current. Then, turn and swim to shore. If you can’t swim to shore, float or tread water until you are free of the rip current and then head toward shore. Draw attention to yourself by waving and calling for help.
- If a child is missing near a pool or body of water, ALWAYS check the water first
- Stay hydrated with lots of water
- Apply and reapply bug spray and sunscreen (with proper SPF)
- Prepare for the weather and avoid being outdoors during high heat indexes or storms.
- Wear other protective apparel for the activity, such as bicycle helmets, hats, sunglasses, footwear, safety vests, life vests, etc.
- Always wear life vests when boating and jet skiing
- Use caution around bonfires, fire pits, or sparklers.
- Check outdoor toys, seats, and equipment for snakes and other critters hiding in the heat.
- Test the temperature of playground equipment before children play
- Check for bees and wasps (and nests) in playground equipment, especially if a child has a known allergy
The safest place for your pets is at home where it’s familiar, quiet, and comfortable. You should also be on the lookout in the days leading up to Independence Day since many people shoot off fireworks a few days before and after July 4th.
- Ensure your pet’s microchip and ID tags have the correct information. If your pet isn’t microchipped, now is the time to do it! IDs are added to insurance and can help you find your pet if a neighbor grabs them. Microchipping can help you if your pet escapes and is dropped off at a vet or shelter.
- Fill your pets’ prescriptions before July.
- Tire out your animals, either with exercise or play.
- Watch out for signs of heat stroke during the day. And always make sure your pet has a shaded area to escape the sun.
- If you know you will be away from home during the 4th of July, consider hiring a pet sitter or getting a friend to watch your pet.
Keeping these tips in mind and using a little common sense during your celebrations will keep you, your kids, and your pets healthy and happy.