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Enjoy your Fourth of July Weekend Safely


Many of us will enjoy a three-day weekend this year with Independence Day falling on a Sunday. As you plan your Fourth of July, you might be thinking of travel, fireworks or a yummy barbecue. The American Red Cross would like everyone to enjoy a safe summer holiday, and offers some tips to help you and your loved ones have a great weekend.

Travel Tips With more people on the roads during the holiday, it’s more important than ever to drive safely—which means being well rested and alert, buckling up, observing speed limits and following the rules of the road. If you plan on drinking, designate a driver who won’t drink.

In addition:

  • Don’t let your vehicle’s gas tank get too low. If you have car trouble, pull as far as possible off the highway.
  • Carry a Disaster Supplies Kit in your trunk.
  • Pay attention to the weather forecast for your destination. Travel and weather Web sites can help you avoid storms and other regional challenges that could impact your safety.
  • Let someone know your destination, your route and when you expect to arrive. If your car gets stuck along the way, help can be sent along your predetermined route.
  • Find out what disasters may occur where you are traveling, especially if they are disasters you have never experienced. Find out how you would get information in the event of a disaster (local radio systems, emergency alert systems).

If you are traveling with your pet, redcross.org has special advice to make your trip more enjoyable.

Grilling Even if you consider yourself a lean, mean, grilling machine, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it safely. First, always supervise a barbecue grill when in use. Nobody likes a burned burger (or a burned anything else).

Never add charcoal starter fluid when coals have already been ignited. And keep the grill out in the open, away from the house, the deck, tree branches, or anything that could catch fire. That means you should not be grilling in your house, camper, tent or any enclosed area.

While you’re mastering the art of the perfectly-cooked steak, make sure everyone else, including the pets, stays away from the grill. Finally, keep yourself safe by using the long-handled tools especially made for cooking on the grill.

Fireworks Spectacular fireworks are often a highlight of the Fourth. You can enjoy the show safely by following a few tips:

  • Store fireworks in a cool, dry place away from children and pets.
  • 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."
  • Never throw or point a firework toward people, animals, vehicles, structures or flammable materials.

In addition, stay at least 500 feet away from professional fireworks displays, and leave any area immediately where untrained amateurs are using fireworks.

The American Red Cross wishes everyone a safe and happy Fourth of July. For more safety and preparedness tips, visit www.redcross.org.