As Pasadenans get their stars and stripes ready for Independence Day festivities, the American Red Cross wants to ensure backyard barbeques, beach days and firework displays remain safe and fun for everyone, including our four-legged friends. Consider the following tips for your celebrations.
“July 4th fireworks, food and social gatherings always make for great fun with family and friends,” said Guillermo Sanchez, Disaster Preparedness Manager for the American Red Cross Los Angeles Region. “Still, people should celebrate with caution and make sure they are taking steps to stay healthy and safe during the holiday.”
The safest way to enjoy fireworks is to attend a public firework show arranged by professionals. Always stay at least 500 feet away from firework shows and remember that many states outlaw most fireworks. Leave any area immediately if untrained amateurs are using fireworks. If you are setting fireworks off at home, follow these important 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.”
- Store fireworks in a cool, dry place away from children and pets.
- Remember that loud fireworks can be extremely stressful for war veterans and pets.
- Wash your hands before preparing the food.
- Don’t leave food out in the hot sun. Keep perishable foods in a cooler with plenty of ice or freezer gel packs.
- If you are going to cook on the grill, never grill indoors. Keep the grill out in the open, away from the house, the deck, tree branches or anything that could catch fire.
- Always supervise the grill when in use. Don’t add charcoal starter fluid when coals have already been ignited. Use the long-handled tools especially made for cooking on the grill to keep the chef safe.
- Make sure everyone, including pets, stays away from the grill.
BEACH AND WATER SAFETY
Make sure to protect your head and skin from the sun’s rays and drink plenty of water throughout your day. Have a water activities plan:
- Swim only at a beach with a lifeguard, within the designated swimming area. Obey all instructions and orders from lifeguards and ask them about local conditions.
- Always designate a “water watcher” whose only responsibility is to pay constant attention to family and friends near water or swimming until the next water watcher takes over.
- Children, inexperienced swimmers and all boaters should wear properly fitted U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets
- Protect your neck – don’t dive in headfirst. Walk carefully into open waters. Watch out for and avoid aquatic life.
- If you are caught in a rip current, stay calm and don’t fight it. Swim parallel to the shore until you are out of the current. Then, turn and swim to shore. If you can’t swim to shore, float or tread water until you are free of the rip current and then head toward shore. Draw attention to yourself by waving and calling for help.
Download the free Red Cross First Aid and Swim apps for instant access to safety tips.