02 Jul 2015
(Editor’s Note: July 4th is only two days away, so for today’s Thursday Feature we take a look at how you can make the most of your holiday celebration while staying safe at the same time.)
The Fourth of July is one of the only holidays that brings all Americans together at the same time. So it’s the perfect time to share the patriotic spirit with others while enjoying a well-deserved holiday off.
If you are hosting an Independence Day party — either at your business or at your home — your top priority is for all of your guests to relax and have a great time. But maintaining a safe environment is also essential.
Here are the top 10 Fourth of July safety tips to help you enjoy your annual mid-summer holiday safely and enjoyably:
1. Use Caution around Water — Water sports and the Fourth of July are two things that go together naturally. But each year sees many injuries or even deaths caused by unsafe practices while swimming and boating. If your guests are swimming in a pool, a lake or a pond, make sure they are always supervised, especially children. Never assume that somebody else will be watching the kids.
2. Be Smart about Fireworks — If fireworks are legal where you live, make sure you store and use them safely. Keep spectators a safe distance away when igniting fireworks, especially children. A better plan is to attend a community-sponsored fireworks display rather than hosting your own fireworks show.
3. Take It Easy — It’s everybody’s day off and a celebration to boot. But that doesn’t mean you have to hit the alcohol hard, especially if the festivities start early in the day. Drink plenty of water throughout the day, especially if you also are consuming alcohol. Make sure your guests who are drinking have a designated driver or another safe way to get home. And be especially watchful around people who are drinking and swimming.
4. Practice Safe Boating — Traditionally, the Fourth of July is the busiest day on lakes, beaches, and other waterways. Follow all local boating laws, including speed and wake limits, and don’t allow anyone who is piloting a boat to be drinking. Before allowing craft onto the water, make sure there are enough life preservers for everybody on board.
5. Protect Your Food from Pests — Bees, wasps, and flies are naturally attracted to food at picnics. Discourage insects from landing on your food by covering it with plastic and foil whenever not being used. It’s also a good idea to have an Epi-pen on hand for anybody who may be allergic to bee stings or other insect bites. To keep from being bitten, wear shoes, long sleeves, and long pants and don’t wear fragrances or bright colors. Be cautious when drinking sugary soda from cans because bees love to climb inside and you could get stung in the mouth.
6. Have Sunscreen Available — Encourage guests to use sunscreen liberally to protect themselves from the sun’s ultraviolet rays. Not only will this prevent them from becoming sunburned, but it helps prevent the growth of skin cancers and premature aging.
7. Check Medications — Many prescription medications available today can make people more sensitive to sunlight or can cause a sun-sensitizing drug reaction. Check the labels of all your prescriptions so you can take the appropriate precautions.
8. Beware of Ticks and Mosquitos — In many areas of the country that have experienced recent heavy rainfalls, the number of ticks and mosquitos is near an all-time high. Protect yourself by wearing insect repellent with no more than 30% DEET. If you will be hiking in an area where there are likely to be a lot of ticks, wear long-sleeved, light-colored shirts and long pants, and tuck your pants into your socks or boots to protect against ticks. Check your family and your pets for ticks at the end of the day so they can be removed before growing too big.
9. Hydrate — Especially if it’s hot outside (and if you are consuming alcohol), it’s critical that you drink more water than you normally would. Avoid heat illness by staying in the shade as much as possible and avoiding over-exertion. Young children, the elderly, and people with compromised immune systems are especially susceptible to heat illness and heat stroke. Alcohol consumption promotes dehydration.
10. Open Flames and Kids Don’t Mix — Keep children away from grills, campfires, bonfires and other heat sources. Create a “no kids zone” around barbecue grills and other potential dangers.
Most importantly, have a happy and safe Fourth of July!