Stay safe this Fourth of July with these safety tips

By Samantha Pudelski, American Red Cross volunteer

July 3, 2019- With Fourth of July celebrations almost under way, the Northeast Ohio Region of the American Red Cross has some fireworks safety tips to make sure everyone stays safe this holiday.

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“Fourth of July is a great holiday for families to enjoy the summer weather but we want everyone to stay safe, especially when it comes to fireworks,” said Tim O’Toole, regional disaster officer for the Red Cross of Northeast Ohio. “These safety tips will ensure that everyone can have an enjoyable and safe Independence Day, including pets.”

Attend a Public Fireworks Show

The safest way to enjoy fireworks this Fourth of July is to attend a public fireworks show put on by professionals. Make sure to stay at least 500 feet away from the show and leave any area immediately where untrained amateurs are using fireworks.

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If you or someone you know is setting off fireworks at home, follow these safety steps:

  • Never give fireworks to small children.
  • Never throw or point a firework toward people, animals, vehicles, structures or flammable materials, and make sure to light them a safe distance away.
  • 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.”
  • Always have an adult supervise any fireworks activities, even sparklers. Sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees — hot enough to melt some metals.
  • After fireworks complete their burning, douse the spent device with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding it to prevent a trash fire.

Many communities in Northeast Ohio are hosting fireworks shows throughout the Fourth of July weekend. Click here for a full listing of shows in the area.

Pet Safety

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July 5th is the busiest day at local animal shelters due to animals being scared by fireworks and running away. Here are some tips to keep your furry friends safe this Independence Day:

  • Keep your pets inside on the lowest level of your home.
  • Turn on a television or radio to help cover some the loud noises that may be outside.
  • Before fireworks and other festivities begin, get your pet to be active, such as going on a long hike. A pet that is mentally and physically exhausted is less likely to react to fireworks and other loud noises.
  • Provide your pet a distraction, such as a delicious treat or toys, to keep them occupied.
  • Comfort them. Sitting close to your pet, petting them gently and offering quiet words of reassurance during scary events like fireworks can help to center them and might even reduce their fearfulness.
  • Make sure your pet has access to a favorite and comforting area, such as a bedroom.
  • Try an anxiety vest. Much like swaddling helps to calm infants, a snug garment that puts gentle pressure on your pet’s torso can reduce fireworks anxiety. Get your furry  friend used to wearing a pressure wrap before fireworks so that by the time the event arrives, they will be comfortable with the garment.
  • Just in case your pet does escape, make sure your pet’s identification is up to date and that you have a current photo ready.

Fireworks aren’t the only things that pose a home fire risk – this video can help you avoid home fires due to cooking accidents:

Edited by Glenda Bogar, American Red Cross volunteer

Fourth of July Safety Tips: Celebrate Independence Day Safely

This Fourth of July weekend, many people will be traveling, firing up the backyard grill or enjoying fireworks, so we wanted to offer a series of steps everyone can follow to safely enjoy the holiday weekend!

HIGHWAY SAFETY Millions of Northeast Ohioans will hit the road over the Fourth of July weekend. (Auto club AAA estimates that 41.9 million Americans will travel over the weekend, the most in eight years!) Here are five things everyone should do to stay safe while traveling:

  1. Buckle seat belts, observe speed limits.
  2. Do not drink and drive.
  3. Pay full attention to the road – don’t use a cell phone to call or text.
  4. Use caution in work zones.
  5. 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.

4th of July Firework SafetyFIREWORKS SAFETY The best way to enjoy fireworks is to attend a public fireworks show put on by professionals. But if sparklers are part of your Independence Day tradition, here are five safety steps for people using novelty fireworks (the only fireworks which are legal for home use in the state of Ohio) at home:

  1. Never give novelty fireworks to small children, and always follow the instructions on the packaging.
  2. Keep a supply of water close by as a precaution.
  3. Make sure the person lighting novelty fireworks always wears eye protection.
  4. Light only one novelty firework at a time and never attempt to relight “a dud.”
  5. Never throw or point a novelty firework toward people, animals, vehicles, structures or flammable materials. 

Grill Safety Tips

GRILLING SAFETY Ah! The Red, White and Blue Backyard Barbecue!! But did you know that every year people are injured while using charcoal or gas grills? Here are five steps to safely cook up treats for your Independence Day feast:

  1. Always supervise a barbecue grill when in use.
  2. Never grill indoors – not in the house, camper, tent, or any enclosed area.
  3. Make sure everyone, including the pets, stays away from the grill.
  4. Keep the grill out in the open, away from the house, the deck, tree branches, or anything that could catch fire.
  5. Use the long-handled tools especially made for cooking on the grill to keep the chef safe.

JUST IN CASE: WHY NOT BE SAFE AND DOWNLOAD THE FREE FIRST AID APP – The Red Cross has a free Red Cross First Aid App to put expert advice for everyday emergencies at their fingertips. The app is available for smart phones and tablets and can be downloaded from the Apple or Google Play for Android app stores.

Happy AND SAFE Fourth of July, everyone!