Red Cross issues top 4th of July safety steps for travel, grilling, fireworks and more

REGION — This Fourth of July holiday, many people will be traveling, 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 long holiday weekend.

“Everyone looks forward to having fun over the Fourth of July, and the Red Cross wants to make sure people know how to stay safe while enjoying their activities and events,” said Maria Devlin –CEO for the American Red Cross in New Hampshire and Vermont.

Highway safety: Thousands of people will be on the highways over the Fourth of July holiday including visitors from outside our two state region. The Red Cross offers these five things everyone should do to stay safe while traveling:

·      Buckle seat belts and observe speed limits.

·      Do not drink and drive.

·      Pay full attention to the road – don’t use a cell phone to call or text.

·      Use caution in work zones.

·      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. 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.

Water safety: New Hampshire and Vermont offer a lot of ways to enjoy the water, whether it’s the ocean, lakes, rivers, ponds or backyard pools. It’s important to take precautions no matter what kind of body of water you’re near:

·      Do your part, be water smart! Ensure that everyone in the family learns to swim well.

·      Keep a close eye and constant attention on children and adults while at the beach.

·      Don’t fool with the pool: Fence it in. Enclose your pool and spa with four-sided, four-foot high fencing and use self-closing, self-latching gates.

·      Don’t just pack it, always wear your U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket – when on a boat, in a kayak, swimming, or if you’re in a situation that may become more challenging that your skill level. Inflatable children’s toys and water wings can be fun, but they are no substitute for a life jacket and close adult supervision.

·      Swim as a pair near a lifeguard’s chair – everyone, including experienced swimmers, should swim with a buddy in areas protected by lifeguards.

Emergency app:  People can download the free Red Cross Emergency App to receive severe weather watches and warnings in their local area, at travel destinations and where loved ones live. “Family Safe” is a unique feature that allows app users to notify family and friends who are in an area affected by an emergency or disaster. First Aid steps for situations such as heart attacks, heat-related emergencies and water safety information are also included. The content is available in English and Spanish. The app can be downloaded from app stores by searching for “American Red Cross” or by going to redcross.org/apps.

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