Safety measures to keep in mind this Independence Day weekend

Fireworks Fourth of July_433779

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The Department of Environmental Conservation, the New York State Police, the Division of Consumer Protection, and the American Red Cross have all released Fourth of July safety tips ahead of the holiday weekend.

This year, additional care is needed because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Remember, it’s wildfire season. Cutting grass and mowing lawns ahead of festivities is a good way to prevent fires as the summer heat mixes with holiday tradition.

“Not only do we want to keep our COVID-19 infection rate low, we want to make sure time-honored holiday traditions of fireworks and grilling are done safely by following basic tips.”

Rossana Rosado

Coronavirus safety

  • Continue social distancing
  • Continue wearing face coverings
  • Avoid crowds and gatherings
  • Follow local guidelines
  • Disinfect surfaces daily
  • Wash your hands
  • Stay home if feeling sick

Cookout safety

Grills spark over 10,000 home fires on average, and thousands of grill-related injuries are reported at hospitals each year in the U.S. Most injuries are burns, but may also be related to carbon monoxide poisoning.

  • Do a safety check before lighting the grill
  • Inspect gas hoses for cracking, brittleness, kinks, holes, leaks, and faulty connections
  • Clean the grill, especially the grease trap
  • Only grill outside in a well-ventilated area
  • Do not leave the grill unattended
  • Do not add lighter fluid once coals are ignited
  • Keep kids and pets away from hot surfaces
  • Use long-handled tools and utensils
  • Keep hoses far from heat and grease
  • Lower or turn off the flame and/or spread the coals if there’s a flare-up
  • Use baking soda or a fire extinguisher in case of fire

Fireworks safety

Between 2012 and 2019, the Consumer Product Safety Commission received reports of 126 firework-related deaths. In 2019, they estimated 10,000 firework injuries treated in emergency departments, with 73% between June 21 and July 21.

This year, many fireworks shows are canceled because of crowd concerns.

  • Make sure your fireworks are legal in your area
  • Buy only from registered, legal retailers
  • Store fireworks in a cool, dry place away from kids and pets
  • Do not make fireworks
  • Do not use professional-grade fireworks
  • Do not buy/use fireworks packaged in brown paper (indicative of professional display, not consumer use)
  • Follow instructions on the packaging
  • Do not give fireworks to children
  • Do not throw or point fireworks at people, animals, vehicles, structures, occupied area, or anything flammable
  • Keep a fire extinguisher, bucket of water, or hose nearby
  • Wear eye protection when lighting fireworks
  • Never place a body part over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse
  • Light one at a time
  • Light outside
  • Move a safe distance away immediately after lighting
  • Do not relight or handle a “dud”
  • Soak spent or malfunctioning fireworks in water before throwing away

Water Safety

Open water—like ponds, rivers, and lakes—is where people drown most often, though the greatest statistical risk for kids is a home pool.

  • Discuss water safety with your kids
  • Do not enter the water if you cannot swim
  • Swim only in designated areas with a lifeguard on duty
  • Do not wear face masks in the water, which may hamper breathing
  • Do not share goggles, nose clips, snorkels, or other personal items
  • Designate a water watcher to supervise in-water activities
  • Drain and flip inflatable or “kiddie” pools when swim time is over

Driving Safety

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says over 10,000 people die in alcohol-related crashes per year. That’s almost 30 people per day, or one death every 50 minutes.

  • Stay sober behind the wheel of any automobile, vehicle, ATV, or vessel
  • Find the safest way home
  • Give your keys to a sober friend or call for a ride if you plan on drinking
  • Wear a seatbelt
  • Put down your phone
  • Call the police if you see an impaired driver
  • Prevent others from driving while impaired

Boating Safety

Alcohol is the leading factor contributing to fatal boating accidents. The federal legal blood alcohol limit for operating a vessel is .08%, and the effects of alcohol are intensified by sun, wind, noise, vibration, and motion on boats.

People wearing life jackets are more likely to survive boating accidents.

  • Do not operate a boat while under the influence, texting, or distracted
  • Complete a state-approved boating safety course before operating a boat
  • Wear or carry personal floatation devices or life jackets
  • Stock working life jackets for each person aboard any vessel

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