It’s time for Fourth of July celebrations – fireworks, a backyard barbecue, maybe a trip to the beach. Whatever people have planned, the American Red Cross wants them to enjoy their holiday and has steps they can follow to be safe.
“We want everyone to have a great holiday, and a safe one,” said Fran Edwardson, CEO of the American Red Cross of Greater Chicago. “Whether the weekend will involve fireworks, grilling or enjoying Lake Michigan, we have safety tips everyone can follow.”
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. Many states outlaw most fireworks. If someone is setting fireworks off at home, they should follow these safety steps:
GRILLING SAFETY Every year people in this country are injured while using backyard charcoal or gas grills. Follow these steps to safely cook up treats for the backyard barbecue:
BEACH SAFETY If someone’s visit to the shore includes swimming in the lake, they should learn how to swim in the surf and only swim at a lifeguarded beach, within the designated swimming area. Obey all instructions and orders from lifeguards. Other safety tips include:
RIP CURRENTS Rip currents are responsible for deaths on our nation’s beaches every year, and for most of the rescues performed by lifeguards. Any beach with breaking waves may have rip currents, including Lake Michigan. Be aware of the danger of rip currents and remember the following:
Additional water safety tips are available at redcross.org/watersafetytips.
SUN PROTECTION 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. Remember to 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 it’s suspected someone is suffering from heat stroke:
DOWNLOAD FIRST AID APP Another thing people can do is download the free Red Cross first aid app which puts expert advice for everyday emergencies at someone’s fingertips. The app is available for direct download from the Apple or Google Play for Android app stores.
About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.