Everyone is looking forward to the upcoming Fourth of July holiday weekend and the American Red Cross has steps they can follow to stay safe when enjoying the fireworks or playing outdoors.
“Millions of people will enjoy the great outdoors, family, or watch fireworks shows over the 4th of July weekend and there are steps they can take to have a safe holiday,” said Tom Gonzalez, Executive Director for the Red Cross of Southeastern Colorado. “They can also download our First Aid and Swim Apps to have important safety information at their fingertips.”
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 cities and states outlaw most fireworks. If someone is setting fireworks off at home, follow these safety steps:
· Never give fireworks to small children.
· 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.
OUTDOOR SAFETY If holiday plans include boating or rafting be aware of the water conditions. Fast moving water can be extremely dangerous for the unskilled and cold mountain streams and lakes can lead to hypothermia quickly. Swim only in areas with a lifeguard and in the designated swimming area. Obey all instructions and orders from lifeguards. While enjoying the water or the outdoors, always keep alert and check the local weather conditions. Other safety steps include:
· Swim sober and always swim with a buddy. Make sure you have enough energy to swim back to shore.
· Have young children and inexperienced swimmers wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket.
· Protect your neck – don’t dive headfirst. Walk carefully into open waters.
· Keep a close eye and constant attention on children and adult. Wave action from passing boats can cause someone to lose their footing, even in shallow water.
· Watch out for aquatic life. Water plants and animals may be dangerous. Avoid patches of plants and leave animals alone.
· Wear plenty of sunblock and limit your sun exposure.
· Never hike or camp alone.
· Be extremely careful with open flames, campfires and matches.
· If you see lightning or hear thunder seek an indoor shelter. No place outside is safe from lightning.
DOWNLOAD SWIM, FIRST AID APPS The Red Cross Swim App promotes water safety education and helps parents and caregivers of young people learning how to swim. The app has features specifically designed for children, including a variety of kid-friendly games, videos and quizzes. It also contains water safety information for parents on a variety of aquatic environments including beaches and water parks. The First Aid App provides instant access to expert guidance on a variety of situations from insect bites and stings to choking and Hands-Only CPR. People can download the apps for free by searching for ‘American Red Cross’ in their app store or at redcross.org/apps.
HOME POOL ESSENTIALS COURSE The Red Cross and National Swimming Pool Foundation® (NSPF) have developed an online safety course for pool and hot tub owners. Home Pool Essentials helps people understand the risks of pool ownership, how to maintain a safer and cleaner pool, what safety equipment is appropriate, how to prevent pool and hot tub entrapment hazards, and how to respond to an emergency.