The Fourth of July holiday is just ahead and the American Red Cross has tips to follow to stay safer when enjoying the fireworks, traveling the highways, taking a trip to the beach, or chilling and grilling at home.
HIGHWAY SAFETY Millions of people will be on the highways over the Fourth of July weekend. The Red Cross offers these five things everyone should do to stay safer while traveling:
1. Buckle seat belts, observe speed limits.
2. Do not drink and drive.
3. Pay full attention to the road – don’t use a cell phone to call or text.
4. Use caution in work zones.
5. Clean the vehicle’s lights and windows to help the driver see, especially at night. Turn the headlights on as dusk approaches, or during inclement weather.
FIREWORKS SAFETY The best way to enjoy fireworks is to attend a public fireworks show put on by professionals. If you choose to set off fireworks at home, howeverm here are five safety steps to follow:
1. Never give fireworks to small children, and always follow the instructions on the packaging.
2. Keep a supply of water close by as a precaution.
3. Make sure the person lighting fireworks always wears eye protection.
4. Light only one firework at a time and never attempt to relight "a dud."
5. Never throw or point a firework toward people, animals, vehicles, structures or flammable materials.
GRILLING SAFETY Every year people are injured while using charcoal or gas grills. To safely cook up treats for the backyard barbecue:
1. Always supervise a barbecue grill when in use.
2. Never grill indoors – not in the house, camper, tent, or any enclosed area.
3. Make sure everyone, including the pets, stays away from the grill.
4. Keep the grill out in the open, away from the house, the deck, tree branches, or anything that could catch fire.
5. Use the long-handled tools especially made for cooking on the grill to keep the chef safe.
RED CROSS APPS Download the all-inclusive Red Cross Emergency app which combines more than 35 emergency alerts to help keep the user safe. And there is a special mobile app - Monster Guard - designed for kids, teaching them to prepare for emergencies at home by playing an engaging game. Find the apps in smartphone app stores by searching for the American Red Cross or going to redcross.org/apps.
HOME FIRE CAMPAIGN Seven times a day someone in this country dies in a fire. The Red Cross has been working to reduce that number through its Home Fire Campaign, a multi-year effort to reduce the number of home fire deaths and injuries by 25 percent. Launched in October of 2014, the Red Cross and thousands of campaign partners have helped save many lives through the effort, as well as installing hundreds of thousands of smoke alarms in homes all across the country. Here in the Western North Carolina Region, the Red Cross has installed more than 5,000 smoke alarms in the past year.
TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT HOW TO HELP AND TO PROTECT HOMES FROM FIRE Visit redcross.org/homefires. Become a Red Cross volunteer by visiting redcross.org/volunteer. Donate blood. Visit redcrossblood.org for location or drive nearest you. Donate to Red Cross Disaster Relief by visiting redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Donations to Disaster Relief will be used to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small.