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Good News Fridays: Be Safe When Celebrating The 4th Of July

Welcome to Good News Fridays. Each week, this post features something good, wholesome, positive, and overall something great. We all need something good to read or watch on Fridays!

Post by Shirley Jackson from Alabama NewsCenter

The Fourth of July is one of America’s favorite holidays. It’s the nation’s birthday, and most people will celebrate it with family, food and fireworks. Health and safety concerns should be a priority when making plans for Independence Day. Keep holiday events happy and memorable by being prepared and alert while celebrating.

Based on data from the National Safety Council, there were more than 12,000 fireworks-related injuries in 2017. That same year, fireworks caused 18,500 fires, which included structure, vehicle and forest fires. Sparklers account for 25% of emergency room visits caused by fireworks. Nearly half of the total estimated annual injuries are from children under age 5.

Reference these safety tips to keep your family and home safe:

Fireworks and sparklers

  • Read safety and performance descriptions before igniting fireworks and sparklers.
  • Purchase fireworks from reputable dealers with the company name clearly displayed.
  • Never point or light fireworks toward a person.
  • If fireworks malfunction, do not relight.
  • Fireworks should never be used for any purpose other than their intended use.
  • Store fireworks in a cool place away from children and pets.
  • While handling fireworks, do not consume alcoholic beverages.
  • Check the area where you live to see whether fireworks are legal.
  • Unused or misfired fireworks should be soaked in water.
  • Choose to watch a televised show or fireworks display conducted by trained professionals.
  • Adults should always supervise children when around fireworks and sparklers.
  • Sparklers should not be used near homes, leaves, bushes or other flammable materials.
  • Always stand when using sparklers, hold them at arm’s length and never run while holding them.
  • Wear closed-toe shoes and gloves while handling sparklers to avoid burns to the feet and hands.
  • Do not light multiple sparklers or fireworks simultaneously.
  • Have an ample supply of water, a fire extinguisher and first-aid kit nearby.
  • Protect your eyes with safety glasses.
  • Sweep up any remaining dust and debris.

Skin Care

  • Apply sunblock 15 minutes before you are in the sun.
  • Use sunblock at least every two hours or as needed.
  • Seek shade if outside all day.
  • Peak sun hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Cover up with a hat, sunglasses, umbrella and extra clothing for added protection.

Food safety 

  • Bacteria thrives in food from 40-140 degrees.
  • Keep hot food on the grill and cold food in a cooler.
  • Toss perishable food after two hours.
  • Use multiple grills and tools when grilling poultry and vegetables. Be careful not to cross-contaminate.
  • Protect food from insects.
  • After each use, grills should be cleaned to prevent rust, burned meat buildup and the risk of toxins.
  • Avoid using wire bristle brushes. Bristles can break off on grill and end up in food.
  • Grilling gloves and utensils with long handles will keep your hands and arms safe when dealing with heat and flames.

Charcoal and gas grilling

  • Grills should never be left unattended.
  • Don’t wear loose clothing.
  • Never grill too close to your home, in an enclosed area, overhang or on a surface that can catch fire.
  • Keep grills 2 feet away from decks, siding, branches and other flammable outdoor equipment.
  • Store gas and charcoal grills outside to avoid carbon monoxide and other dangerous toxins.
  • Assign a “grill watcher” to keep children and pets away from the grill.
  • After a fire has been ignited, do not add charcoal starter fluid.
  • Inspect gas grill fuel lines for leaks, pinched, twisted, clogged or torn areas.
  • Gas grills should be shut down correctly by turning off the burners and fuel supply.
  • Charcoal grills should be extinguished by waiting for the coals to stop burning and cool down completely.

 Swimming and water safety

  • Learn and review basic water safety tips.
  • Have a lifeguard present.
  • Avoid consumption of alcoholic beverages.
  • Do not leave children unattended near water.
  • Children and inexperienced swimmers should wear life vests.
  • Jump into shallow water feet-first only.

Boating safety

  • Get a boat inspection.
  • Review safe boating practices.
  • If driving, do not consume alcoholic beverages.
  • Have life vests for every passenger.
  • Be aware of weather conditions.
  • Require a safety briefing.

Learn more lake and river safety tips here.

Driving safety

  • Plan your trip in advance.
  • Have your car serviced.
  • Don’t drink and drive.
  • Make sure you’re well-rested before driving.
  • Pack a disaster emergency kit.
  • Avoid the busiest times for travel.
  • Obey traffic rules.
  • Buckle up.
  • Avoid distracted driving such as texting, posting to social media and taking photos.
  • Contact your local post office to stop or hold all your mail and deliveries.
  • Drive slowly and be on the lookout for pedestrians in the streets or crossing the road.
  • Never leave small children or pets in a car.

Contributed: National Safety Council

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