Top Ten Tips for Fireworks Safety

By Doug Bardwell, American Red Cross Volunteer

Every Fourth of July there are invariably some headlines about those who lost fingers or limbs due to accidents involving firecrackers or fireworks.  It needn’t be that way if safety is as much a consideration as celebrating.

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Fireworks photo credit: Paul Wadowick/American Red Cross volunteer

In order to celebrate responsibly, consider these ten tips:

  1. Leave it to the professionals – go watch a city display instead of trying it at home. [Okay, there are 10 more since many of you just won’t take this advice.]
  2. Never give fireworks to small children or let them attempt to light them.
  3. Never throw or point a firework toward people, animals, vehicles, structures or flammable materials.
  4. Never place a firecracker in a container – flying shrapnel can result.
  5. Always follow the instructions on the packaging.
  6. Keep a supply of water and first aid kit close by as a precaution.
  7. Make sure the person lighting fireworks always wears eye protection.
  8. Light only one firework at a time and never attempt to relight “a dud.”
  9. Store fireworks in a cool, dry place – locked away from children and pets.
  10. Alcohol and fireworks are a recipe for disaster. Save the drinking for after the fireworks.
  11. Consider your pets – they really aren’t going to enjoy all the noise – some will be terrified – so find them a safe interior room or space in the basement where they won’t hear as much noise.

Regarding tip #10, if you’ve successfully enjoyed your own fireworks, consider yourself lucky.  Someone else certainly won’t be so lucky, and they may need blood in the emergency room.

Consider donating during the week of the Fourth.  Blood drives see a big decrease during the holiday week, but the need never decreases.  If you’ve been blessed enough to not need it, be the donor that someone else needs.

Check your Red Cross Blood Donor app or go to RedCrossBlood.org to locate a donation time and site convenient for you. You’ll receive a special edition Red Cross T-shirt as a special thank you (while supplies last.)

For more tips on safely enjoying your holiday weekend, see this article at RedCross.org.

 

4th of July: Red Cross Steps for Enjoying a Safe Holiday Weekend

 

Fireworks, beach safety tips to keep everyone safe this Independence Day

Everyone is looking forward to the upcoming Fourth of July holiday weekend and the American Red Cross has steps you can follow to stay safe when enjoying the fireworks or taking a trip to the beach.

 “Millions of people will visit pools or lakes or watch fireworks shows over the 4th of July weekend and there are steps they can take to have a safe holiday,” said Michael Parks, Regional CEO of Northeast Ohio. “They can also download our First Aid and Swim Apps to have important safety information at their fingertips.”4th of July Firework SafetyFIREWORKS SAFETY The safest way to enjoy fireworks is to attend a public fireworks show put on by professionals. Stay at least 500 feet away from the show. Many cities and states outlaw most fireworks. If someone is setting fireworks off at home, follow these safety steps:

  • Never give fireworks to small children.
  • 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.
  • Never throw or point a firework toward people, animals, vehicles, structures or flammable materials.
  • Leave any area immediately where untrained amateurs are using fireworks.Water Safety TipsWATER SAFETY Swim only at a beach with a lifeguard, within the designated swimming area. Obey all instructions and orders from lifeguards. While enjoying the water, keep alert and check the local weather conditions. Other safety steps include:
  • Swim sober and always swim with a buddy. Make sure you have enough energy to swim back to shore.
  • Have young children and inexperienced swimmers wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket.
  • Protect your neck – don’t dive headfirst. Walk carefully into open waters.
  • Keep a close eye and constant attention on children and adults while at the beach. Wave action can cause someone to lose their footing, even in shallow water.
  • Watch out for aquatic life. Water plants and animals may be dangerous. Avoid patches of plants and leave animals alone.

beachRIP CURRENTS Rip currents are responsible for deaths on our nation’s beaches every year, and for most of the rescues performed by lifeguards. Any beach with breaking waves may have rip currents. Be aware of the danger of rip currents and remember the following:

  • If you are caught in a rip current, try not to panic. Swim parallel to the shore until you are out of the current. Once you are free, turn and swim toward shore. If you can’t swim to the shore, float or tread water until you are free of the rip current and then head toward shore.
  • Stay at least 100 feet away from piers and jetties. Permanent rip currents often exist near these structures.

DOWNLOAD SWIM, FIRST AID APPS The Red Cross Swim App promotes water safety education and helps parents and caregivers of young people learning how to swim. The app has features specifically designed for children, including a variety of kid-friendly games, videos and quizzes. It also contains water safety information for parents on a variety of aquatic environments including beaches and water parks. The First Aid App provides instant access to expert guidance on a variety of situations from insect bites and stings to choking and Hands-Only CPR. People can download the apps for free by searching for ‘American Red Cross’ in their app store or at redcross.org/apps.

HOME POOL ESSENTIALS COURSE The Red Cross and National Swimming Pool Foundation® (NSPF) have developed an online safety course for pool and hot tub owners. Home Pool Essentials helps people understand the risks of pool ownership, how to maintain a safer and cleaner pool, what safety equipment is appropriate, how to prevent pool and hot tub entrapment hazards, and how to respond to an emergency.

 

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!