Many Oklahomans celebrate the Fourth of July with fun activities, such as traveling, grilling, and enjoying fireworks. The American Red Cross in Oklahoma is offering several tips you can follow to ensure that you have a fun and safe weekend.
"Everyone looks forward to having fun over the Fourth of July, and the Red Cross wants to make sure people know how to stay safe while enjoying the holiday," said Ken Garcia, regional spokesman for the American Red Cross of Central and Western Oklahoma.
Millions of people will be on the highways over the Fourth of July weekend. The Red Cross offers these 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.
The best way to enjoy fireworks is to attend a public fireworks show put on by professionals. Here are five safety steps for people setting fireworks off at home:
1. Never give 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 fireworks always wears eye protection.
4. Light only one firework at a time and never attempt to relight "a dud."
5. Never throw or point a firework toward people, animals, vehicles, structures or flammable materials.
Every year people are injured while using charcoal or gas grills. Here are several steps to safely cook up treats for the backyard barbecue:
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.
Top Ten Ways to Be Safe When Swimming Over 4th of July Holiday
1. Learn to swim and only swim in designated areas supervised by lifeguards.
2. Always swim with a buddy; do not allow anyone to swim alone.
3. Have young children or inexperienced swimmers wear U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets around water, but do not rely on life jackets alone.
4. Provide close and constant attention to children and inexperienced swimmers you are supervising in or near the water. Avoid distractions while supervising.
5. Limit the amount of direct sunlight received between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., and wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a protection factor of at least 15. Reapply often.
6. Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water regularly, even if not thirsty. Avoid drinks with alcohol or caffeine.
7. For a backyard pool, have appropriate equipment, such as reaching or throwing equipment, a cell phone, life jackets and a first aid kit.
8. Secure the backyard pool with appropriate barriers including four-sided fencing.
9. Know how and when to call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number.
10. Never leave a young child unattended near water, and do not trust a child's life to another child. Teach children to always ask permission to go near water. If a child is missing, check the water first.
Tips On Keeping Your Pets Safe During Fourth of July Weekend
The Fourth of July can be scary for your pets. They may get stressed and anxious due to the sound of fireworks and even the bright lights in the sky.
Experts suggest leaving your pets indoors, away from the noise. But if you are taking your pets to a show, make sure you bring their favorite toys to distract them with.
If you are leaving your pets at home, experts suggest tiring them out before you head out for the celebration.