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Fourth Of July Safety Tips: Fireworks, Food, Boating, Driving

When our founding fathers signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, they could not have imagined the vast Independence Day celebrations their signatures would create hundreds of years later. We celebrate our freedom with friends and family by attending parades and carnivals, hosting backyard barbecues, getting out on the lake and enjoying firework displays.

Of course, nationwide celebrations do not come accident-free. More teens are killed in car accidents on the Fourth of July than any other day of the year and more than 4,500 fireworks-related injuries send people to U.S. hospital emergency rooms during Independence Day weekend. Not to mention food-related injuries (such as grilling injuries) and boating accidents, which also spike during the Fourth of July.

While it is impossible to prevent all accidents on the Fourth, there are things you and your family can do to stay safe. Here are some Fourth of July safety tips provided by the Red Cross:

Fireworks Safety:

  • Stay 500 feet away from professional fireworks displays
  • Store fireworks in a cool, dry area and never carry fireworks in your pockets
  • Supervise children at all times, even while using sparklers
  • Keep a bucket of water or hose nearby when lighting fireworks
  • Do not relight fireworks that do not ignite
  • Wear eye and hand protection while lighting fireworks
  • If you are in a public place and see amateurs lighting fireworks, consider moving to another location

Boating And Water Safety:

  • Inspect your boat
  • Pay attention to weather conditions and warnings
  • Do not operate a boat or swim while drunk
  • Keep a close eye on children in the water at all times
  • Watch for and stay clear of erratic boaters

Driving Safety:

  • Keep an eye out for drunk drivers, who will be out in throngs this weekend
  • Do not drive drunk, distracted or drowsy
  • There will be road congestion. Leave with enough time to get to your destination and do not speed.
  • Take time to familiarize yourself with your driving route and weather conditions
  • Talk to your teenagers about safe driving

Grilling Safety:

  • Clean your grill before use
  • Do not leave a grill unattended while it is in use
  • Grill outside, not in a tent, camper or other enclosed area
  • Use tools with long handles
  • Do not add charcoal starter fluid to ignited coals
  • Cook all meat thoroughly

Source: Red Cross, "Red Cross Issues Safety Tips For 4th Of July," July 2, 2013

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