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Red Cross 4th of July Safety Tips

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Many people will visit Orange County’s famous beaches, enjoy fireworks or light up the grill for a backyard barbecue.

SANTA ANA, Calif. – Independence Day is just around the corner and many people will visit Orange County’s famous beaches, enjoy fireworks or light up the grill for a backyard barbecue. The American Red Cross encourages everyone to follow these simple tips to help have a happy and safe Fourth of July.


  • Check weather and water conditions throughout the day, swim only at a lifeguard-protected beach within the designated swimming area and obey all safety rules.
  • Avoid alcohol before and during any water activities and make sure to never swim alone.
  • Actively supervise children at all times – even if a lifeguard is present. Stay within arm’s reach of young children when they are in the water.

  • If caught in a rip current, swim parallel to the shore until out of the current. Once free, turn and swim toward shore.
  • If someone can't swim to the shore, they should shout for help, float or tread water until free of the rip current and then head toward shore.
  • Stay at least 100 feet away from piers and jetties as permanent rip currents often exist nearby.

  • Limit the amount of direct sunlight received between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., and apply broad-spectrum sunscreen with a protection factor of at least 15 throughout the day.
  • Drink plenty of water and avoid drinks with alcohol or caffeine.
  • Wear sunglasses that will absorb UV sunlight to protect eyes.

  • 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 fireworks toward people, animals, vehicles, structures or flammable materials.
  • Leave any area immediately where untrained amateurs are using fireworks.

  • Always watch the barbecue grill when in use.
  • Never grill indoors – not in a house, camper, tent or any enclosed area.
  • Make sure children and pets stay 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.
  • Never add charcoal starter fluid when coals have already been ignited.
  • Help people affected by disasters by donating to American Red Cross Disaster Relief. On those rare occasions when donations exceed Red Cross expenses for a specific disaster, contributions are used to prepare for and serve victims of other disasters. Your gift enables the Red Cross to provide shelter, food, counseling and other assistance to victims of all disasters. Call (714) 481-5300 or 1-800-RED-CROSS (1-800-733-2767). Contributions may be sent to the American Red Cross, 601 North Golden Circle Drive, Santa Ana, CA 92705. Internet users can make a secure online contribution by visiting For more updates on the American Red Cross in Riverside and San Bernardino Counties, follow us on Twitter.