Keep It Safe This Independence Day Weekend

I have always loved Independence Day weekend and everything leading up to it: the anticipation of what fireworks my mom would buy, the hour of sparkler usage before dusk, and the explosions of vibrant colors when the sky is finally dark enough to set a magnificent backdrop.

But there have always been the inevitable news reports during the days following Independence Day – lives and limbs lost, dogs missing, homes burned down. I consider myself a lucky one that the biggest loss my family has ever suffered from Independence Day was an outdoor garbage can (also how we learned to dip sparklers in a bucket of water after they went out).

The American Red Cross has offered up the following fireworks and water safety tips to keep you and your family safe and sound this holiday weekend.

Fireworks 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.
  • Keep a supply of water close by as a precaution.
  • Make sure the person lighting fireworks always wears eye and ear 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

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.
  • Keep a close eye on children. Wave action can cause someone to lose their footing, even in shallow water.
  • Watch out for aquatic life. Avoid patches of plants and leave animals alone.
  • Stay at least 100 feet away from piers and jetties. Permanent rip currents often exist near these structures.
  • If in a watercraft, always wear a life jacket and do not drink and drive.

Pet Safety

For our furry friends, we offer the following safety tips, courtesy of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA):

  • Do not apply any sunscreen or insect repellent product to your pet that is not labeled specifically for use on animals.
  • Do not put glow jewelry on your pets, or allow them to play with it.
  • Keep citronella candles, insect coils and tiki torch oil products out of reach.
  • Never use fireworks around pets.
  • Loud, crowded fireworks displays are no fun for pets. Keep them safe from the noise in a quiet, sheltered and escape-proof area at home.
  • Be prepared in the event that your pet does escape by downloading the ASPCA Mobile App and keep your pets’ IDs up to date.

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