This Memorial Day many people will be swimming, firing up the backyard grill or enjoying fireworks, and the American Red Cross offers a series of steps everyone can follow to safely enjoy the holiday weekend.
“Memorial Day is a great time to relax and enjoy time with family and friends,” said Louise Welch Williams, CEO for the Red Cross in South Carolina. “Regardless of whether you are relaxing at home or heading for a fun-filled weekend at the beach or lake, we want you and your family to be safe this holiday weekend.”
WATER SAFETY TIPS The following tips are layers of protection that will help people stay safe in, on and around the water:
1. Do your part, be water smart! Ensure that everyone in the family learns to swim well.
2. Adults: actively supervise children; stay within arm’s reach of young children and newer swimmers. And kids: follow the rules.
3. Don’t fool with a pool: fence it in. Enclose your pool and spa with four-sided, four-foot fencing and use self-closing, self-latching gates.
4. Don’t just pack it; wear your U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket – always when on a boat and if in a situation beyond your skill level. Inflatable children’s toys and water wings can be fun, but they are no substitute for a life jacket and adult supervision.
5. Swim as a pair near a lifeguard’s chair - everyone, including experienced swimmers, should swim with a buddy in areas protected by lifeguards.
6. Reach or throw, don't go! Know what to do to help someone in trouble, without endangering yourself; know how and when to call 9-1-1; and know CPR.
FIREWORKS SAFETY The best way to enjoy fireworks is to attend a public fireworks show put on by professionals. Here are five safety steps for people setting fireworks off at home:
- 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 a firework toward people, animals, vehicles, structures or flammable materials.
GRILLING SAFETY Every year people are injured while using charcoal or gas grills. Here are several steps to safely cook up treats for the backyard barbecue:
- Always supervise a barbecue grill when in use.
- Never grill indoors – not in the 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.
RED CROSS APPS People can 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. Users can find the apps in smartphone app stores by searching for the American Red Cross or going to redcross.org/apps.
WHAT PEOPLE CAN DO People can visit redcross.org/homefires to find out more about how to protect themselves and their loved homes from fire. They can become a Red Cross volunteer by visiting redcross.org/sc or calling their local Red Cross. They can also help by donating 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.