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Have a Fun-Filled Fourth of July Holiday but Keep It Safe
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Red Cross
July 1, 2009

The Independence Day holiday (July 4) falls on a Saturday this year, allowing many to enjoy an extra long weekend. Expect highways to be crowded as many Americans take advantage of the long break to head for the beach or the mountains.  The weekend also offers the opportunity to enjoy parades, picnics, and fireworks.

The American Red Cross would like everyone to enjoy a safe summer holiday, and offers these special tips on travel, fireworks and outdoor cooking safety to help you and your loved ones have a great weekend:

Travel tips to keep you safe on the highway:

  • Carry an Emergency Preparedness Kit in your trunk.
  • Buckle up, slow down and do not drive if you have been drinking alcohol. If you plan on drinking, designate a driver who won’t drink
  • Be well rested and alert; give your full attention to the road.
  • Use caution in work zones.
  • Observe speed limits.
  • Make frequent stops. 
  • Be respectful of other motorists and follow the rules of the road.
  • Clean your vehicle’s lights and windows to help you see well, especially at night.
  • Turn your headlights on as dusk approaches, or during inclement weather.
  • Find out what disasters may occur in the place where you are traveling, especially if they are disasters you have never experienced before. Find out how you would get information in the event of a disaster (local radio systems, emergency alert systems).
  • Pay attention to the weather forecast for your destination. Travel and weather web sites can help you avoid storms and other regional challenges that could impact your safety.
  • Don’t let your vehicle’s gas tank get too low.
  • If you have car trouble, pull off the highway as far as possible.
  • Let someone know your destination, your route and when you expect to arrive. If your car gets stuck along the way, help can be sent along your predetermined route.

If you are taking your pet with you, there are special things you should know to make your trip more enjoyable.  For important tips on safe travel and other information to keep you and your loved ones safe, please visit our web site.

How to grill safely:

  • Never grill indoors – not inside your home, camper, tent or any enclosed area.
  • Make sure everyone, including the pets, stays away from the grill.
  • Keep the grill out in the open, away from the house, the deck, tree branches, or anything that could catch fire. 
  • Use long-handled tools especially made for cooking on the grill to keep the chef safe.
  • Never add charcoal starter fluid when coals have already been ignited.
  • Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using grills.
  • Always supervise a barbecue grill while food is cooking.

Enjoy the fireworks, but be careful:

  • Never give fireworks to small children, and 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.
  • Stay at least 500 feet away from professional fireworks displays.
  • Leave any area immediately where untrained amateurs are using fireworks.

The American Red Cross wants everyone to enjoy a safe Fourth of July.  For more safety tips or to register for training, contact your local chapter or visit www.RedCross.org.

About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and counsels victims of disasters; provides nearly half of the nation's blood supply; teaches lifesaving skills; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization — not a government agency — and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its humanitarian mission. For more information, please visit www.redcross.org or join our blog at www.redcrosschat.org.

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