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Celebrate the Fourth of July...Safely

Posted by Johnson Memorial Health on Jul 1, 2017 7:04:28 PM

The Fourth of July holiday is a special time in every community. We not only honor our country's independence, but enjoy time with family and friends.

Celebrations traditionally include cookouts and fireworks. A good time is had by all  until an accident happens. Nationwide, there are an average of 400 deaths and 41,000 injuries including car crashes, swimming incidents and fireworks accidents  during the July 4th holiday period.

The American Red Cross and the National Safety Council remind us to take some safety precautions with celebrating The Fourth. Here are a few:

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Fireworks Safety

  • The safest way to enjoy fireworks is to attend a public fireworks show put on by professionals. Stay at least 500 feet away from the show. 
  • Never give fireworks to small children, and 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 attempt to relight "a dud."
  • Store fireworks in a cool, dry place away from children and pets.
  • Never throw or point a firework toward people, animals, vehicles, structures or flammable materials.
  • Leave any area immediately where untrained amateurs are using fireworks.

 Grilling Safety

  • Always supervise a barbecue grill when in use.
  • Never grill indoors – not in your house, camper, tent, or any enclosed area.
  • Make sure everyone, including the pets, stays away from the grill.
  • Keep the grill out in the open, away from the house, the deck, tree branches, or anything that could catch fire.
  • Use the long-handled tools especially made for cooking on the grill to keep the chef safe.
  • Never add charcoal starter fluid when coals have already been ignited.
  • Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using grills.

Swimming Safety

  • Learn to swim and only swim in designated areas supervised by lifeguards.
  • Always swim with a buddy; do not allow anyone to swim alone.
  • Have young children or inexperienced swimmers wear U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets around water, but do not rely on life jackets alone.
  • Provide close and constant attention to children and inexperienced swimmers you are supervising in or near the water. Avoid distractions while supervising. 
  • For a backyard pool, have appropriate equipment, such as reaching or throwing equipment, a cell phone, life jackets and a first aid kit.
  • Secure the backyard pool with appropriate barriers including four-sided fencing.
  • Know how and when to call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number.
  • Never leave a young child unattended near water, and do not trust a child’s life to another child. Teach children to always ask permission to go near water. If a child is missing, check the water first.

Driving Safety

  • Make sure every passenger buckles up every trip. The Council estimates 181 lives could be saved this holiday by seat belts.
  • Designate an alcohol and drug-free driver or arrange alternate transportation. Since 2010, more than 37 percent of all fatal crashes during each Fourth of July holiday have involved alcohol.
  • Get plenty of sleep and take regular breaks to avoid fatigue on long trips.
  • Never use a cell phone behind the wheel, even hands-free.

Sun Safety

  • Limit exposure to direct sunlight between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., and wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a protection factor of at least 15. Reapply sunscreen often.
  • Drink plenty of water regularly, even if not thirsty. Avoid drinks with alcohol or caffeine in them.
  • Protect the eyes by wearing sunglasses that will absorb 100 percent of UV sunlight.
  • Protect the feet  the sand can burn them and glass and other sharp objects can cut them.
  • During hot weather, watch for signs of heat stroke  hot, red skin; changes in consciousness; rapid, weak pulse; rapid, shallow breathing.

If you or someone you know has an accident with a serious injury, immediately dial 9-1-1. Treatment for other injuries can be provided at the Johnson Memorial Health Immediate Care Centers or Emergency Department 

Topics: Emergency