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Be Safe This July 4th Holiday: Tips For Avoiding Injury

Safety advice on grilling, fireworks, campfires, playing in the water, driving.

Health and safety officials say there are many simply things you can do this July 4th holiday to keep you and your family members safe at home, on the water, on the road and at

Grilling Safety

According to the United States Fire Administration, each year almost 5,000 Americans are injured by charcoal/wood-burning and propane grill fires. Enjoy your grill safely this summer by following these tips.

Only use the grill outdoors; position the grill well away from siding, deck railings, out from under eaves and overhanging branches and a safe distance from lawn games, play areas, and foot traffic.

Keep children and pets away from the grill area by declaring a 3 foot “kid free zone” around the grill.

Be careful when using lighter fluid. Do not add fluid to an already lit fire because flames can flashback up into the container and explode.

Do not wear loose clothing while cooking at the grill.

Use long-handled grilling tools to give plenty of clearance from heat.

Keep all matches and lighters away from children.

Dispose of hot coals properly - douse them with plenty of water and stir them to ensure that the fire is out.

If you smell gas while cooking on a propane gas grill, immediately get away from the grill and call the fire department. Do not attempt to move the grill.

Never store propane cylinders in buildings or garages. If you store a gas grill inside during the winter, disconnect the cylinder and leave it outside.

Make sure everyone knows to Stop, Drop and Roll in case a piece of clothing does catch fire. Call 911 if a burn warrants serious medical attention.

Fireworks Safety

According to the USFA, nearly 9,000 people are injured by fireworks annually - children under 15 years old account for 39% of the estimated fireworks injuries. In 2009, 67% of firework injuries occurred between June 19 and July 19. The National Fire Protection Agency reports that sparklers, which are typically viewed by parents as relatively harmless fireworks for children, cause serious burn injuries and account for one-third of the injuries to children under five.

The best way to enjoy fireworks is to visit hosted by professionals who know how to safely handle fireworks.

In New York State, all consumer fireworks, even sparklers, are illegal.

Never light fireworks indoors or near dry grass.

Always have a bucket of water and/or a fire extinguisher nearby. Know how to operate the fire extinguisher properly.

Do not wear loose clothing while using fireworks.

Stand several feet away from lit fireworks. If a device does not go off, do not stand over it to investigate it. Put it out with water and dispose of it.

Closely supervise children around fireworks at all times.

Campfire Safety

Be safe when creating memories around a campfire this summer.

Build campfires where they will not spread, away from dry grass and leaves.

Keep campfires small, and don't let them get out of hand.

Keep plenty of water and a shovel around to douse the fire when you're done. Stir it and douse it again with water.

Never leave campfires unattended.

Gasoline Safety

Gasoline-powered equipment keeps outdoor living spaces trim and beautiful. Keep your family safe when using this fuel.

Never use gas to light a fire.

Keep gas out of reach of children. Out of sight isn’t enough, for any age. Store your gasoline where children cannot access it in a well-ventilated area outside your vehicle and living space. Consider a detached garage or outdoor storage shed.

Use gasoline containers with a spout and automatic shut-off feature that will prevent overfilling of fuel tanks.

Never use soda bottles or other makeshift containers to store gas; children may think it is a beverage and drink it.

Keep gas away from any source of heat, spark or flame. Even common household appliances like water heaters and clothes dryers can ignite gas vapors.

Water safety

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission Pool Safely campaign (www.PoolSafely.gov) is a national public education effort to reduce child drownings, near-drownings and entrapments in swimming pools and spas. The campaign’s message is that Simple Steps Save Lives. Simple water steps that could help families avoid a tragedy this holiday include:

Staying Close, Being Alert and Watching Children in and Around the Pool

  • Never leave a child unattended in a pool or spa and always watch your children closely around all bodies of water
  • Teach children basic water safety tips
  • Keep children away from pool drains, pipes and other openings to avoid entrapments
  • Have a telephone close by when you or your family are using a pool or spa
  • If a child is missing, look for him or her in the pool or spa first
  • Share safety instructions with family, friends and neighbors

Learning and Practicing Water Safety Skills

  • Learn how to swim and teach your child how to swim
  • Learn to perform CPR on children and adults, and update those skills regularly
  • Understand the basics of life-saving so that you can assist in a pool emergency

Having the Appropriate Equipment for Your Pool or Spa

  • Install a four-foot or taller fence around the pool and spa and use self-closing and self-latching gates; ask your neighbors to do the same at their pools
  • Install and use a lockable safety cover on your spa
  • If your house serves as a fourth side of a fence around a pool, install and use a door or pool alarm
  • Maintain pool and spa covers in good working order
  • Ensure any pool and spa you use has drain covers that comply with federal standards, and ask your pool service provider if you do not know
  • Have lifesaving equipment such as life rings, floats or a reaching pole available and easily accessible

Safety on the roads

Don’t drink and drive. Police throughout the region will be specifically looking for drunken drivers on local and state roads throughout the holiday.

Don't be distracted. Don't use the phone, don't text while driving.

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