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Labor Day Safety for Beach Goers and Backyard Barbecues

  • Swim Safety
Hurricanes far out at sea threaten swimmers with dangerous rip currents on both the East and West Coast.

This Labor Day weekend, the American Red Cross encourages those who plan to enjoy the holiday not to forget about safety whether on vacation or in your own backyard. At the beach, hurricanes far out at sea pose a particular threat to swimmers with dangerous surf and rip currents on both the East and West Coast. Take a minute to review the Red Cross safety tips below.


  • Swim on lifeguard-protected beaches within the designated swimming areas. Obey all instructions and orders from the lifeguard.
  • If you are caught in a rip current, remain calm and never fight against the current. Swim parallel to the shore until you are out of the current. Once you are free, turn and swim toward shore. If you can't swim to the shore, float or tread water until you are free of the rip current and then head toward shore.
  • If you are still unable to reach shore, draw attention to yourself by waving your arm and yelling for help.
  • Stay at least 100 feet away from piers and jetties. Permanent rip currents often exist near these structures.
  • If you see someone in trouble, get help from a lifeguard. If a lifeguard is not available, have someone call 9-1-1. Throw the victim something that floats such as a lifejacket, cooler or inflatable ball. Yell instructions on how to escape the current. Remember, many people drown while trying to save someone else from a rip current.

  • Keep alert for local weather conditions. Check to see if any warning signs or flags are posted.
  • Swim sober and always swim with a buddy in a supervised area.
  • Have young children, inexperienced swimmers and boaters wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket.
  • Protect the neck – don’t dive headfirst. Walk carefully into open waters.
  • Keep a close eye and constant attention on children and adults while at the beach. Wave action can cause someone to lose their footing, even in shallow water. Stay within arm’s reach while young children and inexperienced swimmers are in the water.

  • 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.
  • Finally, don’t forget to download Red Cross mobile apps such as the First Aid App, Swim App or Hurricane App to ensure you are prepared for whatever emergency may arise. These apps and more are available for smart phones and tablets and can be downloaded 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 or, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.