July 4th is one of the best holidays that America celebrates. We celebrate our freedom and liberty, principles that many of your fought or are fighting for. Hotdogs, hamburgers, brats, steaks, music, beer, boats, and explosions. Part of enjoying all those great things year after year is safely doing so and respecting laws and limits of those around you. Following is a list of things to consider while celebrating your sweet American freedom this July 4th.
Fire, Fireworks, & Grill Safety
July 4th, bonfires, grilling, and fireworks all go hand-in-hand. Ensure you keep a close eye on any open flames and clear a sufficient area around all fires to prevent unintended ignition. Also have an extinguisher or water hose close by. If you are using a water hose, put a nozzle on the end so that the hose is ready to go at a second’s notice instead of having to run and turn the water on.
If you’re using a propane grill, make sure you have a full tank before starting your cookout to avoid having to move to the stove-top mid cookout. Place your grill at least 10-15 feet from any vinyl siding or railings and be sure you grease trap is in place. Make any children aware of the hot surfaces and ensure they stay away.
Fireworks are a great way to entertain and celebrate. They are a loud and bright spectacle for many to enjoy. They have, however, been known to trigger flashbacks and irritate those with PTS. If you know neighbors that may experience adverse side effects or see any signs indicating such you should exercise respect during your celebration. Let the individual know when and where you will be setting off your fireworks. It is also a good idea to check up on them during your celebration. They may be avoiding the holiday and isolating themselves which may lead to negative thoughts or actions. Attempt to include them if possible, but at the very least periodically check in.
It may also be in your best interest to check local and state laws regarding which types of fireworks are legal in your area.
Many of you will spend the holiday near a body of water. Swimming, jet-skiing, inner-tubing, etc. can all be enjoyable activities when done safely. Accidents and alcohol can quickly make a fun situation dangerous or even deadly. ALWAYS wear a life jacket when participating in any watersports. You may be a world-class swimmer but an awkward landing in the water could render you unable to swim and a life jacket will save your life. We can not stress enough the importance of a life jacket. Keep a close eye on children and pets around the water as well. Awareness and vigilance will ensure everyone has a safe celebration and lives to celebrate next year.
It will likely be hot during your celebration. Pay attention for signs of heat exhaustion. The likelihood of being affected is greatly increased when alcohol is added to the mix. Signs include dizziness, nausea or vomiting, confusion, muscle cramps, and more. Treatment includes removing unnecessary or restrictive clothing, drinking room temperature (or slightly chilled, NOT COLD) water, taking a cool shower, or applying cool, wet towels under the arms and around the neck. NOTE: it is very important that you not rapidly submerge or consume ice cold water as this will shock your heart and may lead to cardiac arrest. If these methods of treatment seem ineffective after 15 minutes, seek emergency medical assistance by dialing 911.
Alcohol Safety & Awareness
We know alcohol will be consumed during the 4th. Our advice is to use moderation and self-control in your consumption. Alcohol can severely impair judgement and motor skills which are both important when participating in the activities generally associated with July 4th. Pay attention for signs of alcohol poisoning in your buddies and make sure everyone stays safe. If you notice signs of alcohol poisoning or see someone who is unconscious, immediately seek emergency medical assistance. Do NOT induce vomiting as the person may choke on their vomit. Do NOT leave them alone to “sleep it off.”
This concerns everyone but is primarily targeted to women. It is a shame that this has to be mentioned, but it does. Stay aware of your surroundings. Alcohol can change people you know and trust. Alcohol and bathing suits can breed a dangerous situation in a matter of minutes. If you feel uncomfortable at ANY time, move to a more populated area of the celebration or seek the company of a sober and trusted individual. If you are in a situation where that is not possible, dial 911 immediately. If you are unable to do that or are not near your phone then yell, scream, kick, and claw. Any “friend” that would violate your limits is not a friend at all.
Keep these tips in mind as you and your family & friends celebrate America’s freedom. Remember the sacrifices made for that freedom and take a moment to reflect on those that made those sacrifices. Enjoy good food, music, and friends as you safely participate. Check on those that don’t come out and make an effort to include all your buddies. Stay aware, stay alive. Out.
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