Allen County Red Cross Offers Safety Tips For 4th of July Holiday

Northwest Ohio Red Cross Offers Safety Tips For 4th of July Holiday
Whether your weekend will involve grilling, watching a fireworks display, or hanging out by the pool with family and friends, we have safety tips everyone can follow.

It’s time for Fourth of July celebrations – fireworks, backyard barbecues, and trips to the lake. Whatever people have planned, the American Red Cross of Northwest Ohio wants to ensure the community has fun while staying safe.

“Whether your weekend will involve grilling, watching a fireworks display, or hanging out by the pool with family and friends, we have safety tips everyone can follow.” said Gary Loboschefski, emergency services manager for the American Red Cross of Northwest Ohio. “Independence Day is usually a busy one for us with fires caused by fireworks usage. We’re hoping for nice weather and no incidents, but it’s important to know what to do in the event of an emergency.”

FIREWORKS AND FIRE 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.

Ohio law permits the usage of sparklers and other types of novelty fireworks. Sparklers account for one-third of injuries to children under five, according to the National Fire Protection Association. If someone is setting fireworks off at home, they should follow these safety steps:

  • 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."
  • 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.
  • On Independence Day in a typical year, far more U.S. fires are reported than on any other day, and fireworks account for two out of five of those fires, more than any other cause.

    GRILLING SAFETY Every year people are injured while using backyard charcoal or gas grills. Follow these steps to safely enjoy grilling this 4th:

  • 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 pets – stays away from the grill.
  • Keep the grill out in the open, away from the house, deck, tree branches, or anything that could catch fire.
  • Use long-handled tools especially made for cooking on the grill.
  • Never add charcoal starter fluid when coals have already been ignited.
  • Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using grills.
  • WATER SAFETY People should only swim at a lifeguarded beach within the designated swimming area. Other safety tips include:

  • Obey all instructions and orders from lifeguards.
  • 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.
  • Have young children and inexperienced swimmers 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.
  • Additional water safety tips are available at

    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. Other safety tips include:

  • 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:

  • Call 9-1-1 and move the person to a cooler place.
  • Quickly cool the body by fanning the person and applying cool, wet cloths to the skin.
  • Watch for signs of breathing problems and make sure the airway is clear.
  • Keep the person lying down.
  • DOWNLOAD FIRST AID APP Download the free Red Cross First Aid App to put expert advice for everyday emergencies at people’s fingertips. The app is available for direct download from the Apple or Google Play for Android app stores.