U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS (July 1, 2019) — The 4th of July holiday is just around the corner and many of us will take time off to enjoy a long weekend of summer fun. The American Red Cross wants everyone to have a great holiday and offers safety steps people can follow.
“More than 9,000 home fires each year are caused from leaving a grill unattended while cooking,” said John Duck, executive director for the Red Cross of the Virgin Islands. “The Red Cross offers these safety tips to help you and your loved ones stay safe as you head outdoors, enjoy fireworks and grill during your 4th of July celebration.”
The safest way to enjoy fireworks is to attend a public firework show put on by professionals. Stay at least 500 feet away from the show. Leave any area immediately where untrained amateurs are using fireworks.
If you are setting fireworks off at home, follow these safety steps:
- Never give fireworks to small children, and never throw or point a firework toward people, animals, vehicles, structures or flammable materials.
- 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."
Keep perishable foods in a cooler with plenty of ice or freezer gel packs. Wash your hands before preparing the food. Don’t leave food out in the hot sun. If you are going to cook on a grill, follow these steps:
- Always supervise a barbecue grill when in use. Don’t add charcoal starter fluid when coals have already been ignited.
- 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 and 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 help keep the chef safe.
Never leave children or pets in your vehicle. The inside temperature of the car can quickly reach 120 degrees.
- Stay hydrated, drink plenty of fluids. Avoid drinks with caffeine or alcohol. Wear loose-fitting, lightweight, light-colored clothing. Avoid dark colors as they absorb the sun’s rays.
- Avoid extreme temperature changes.
- Slow down, stay indoors. Avoid strenuous exercise during the hottest part of the day. Postpone outdoor games and activities.
- Use a buddy system when working in excessive heat. Take frequent breaks if working outdoors.
- Check on family, friends and neighbors who do not have air conditioning, who spend much of their time alone or who are more likely to be affected by the heat.
Be “Water smart.” Children and adults should learn to swim so, at a minimum, they achieve the skills of water competency: be able to enter the water, get a breath, stay afloat, find an exit, swim a distance and then get out of the water safely.
Prevent unsupervised access to water. A person who is drowning has a better chance of survival if these steps are followed:
- Recognize the signs of someone trouble and shout for help;
- Rescue and remove the person from water without putting yourself in danger;
- Call 9-1-1;
- Begin rescue breathing and CPR; and
- Use an AED, if available, and transfer care to advanced life support.
Here are a few more steps people can take as we approach the holiday:
- Go to www.redcross.org/watersafety for water safety courses, tips and resources.
- Download the free Red Cross First Aid App for instant access to information on how to treat bleeding, burns, insect bites and stings, and more.
- Become CPR Certified. Learn what to do during life’s emergencies by taking a Red Cross First Aid and CPR/AED class. Visit redcross.org/takeaclass to learn more and get started.
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 redcross.org/USVI or visit us on Facebook at @RedCrossUSVI.