Fourth of July Weekend Safety Tips

July 1, 2009


You’re starting to go grocery shopping; picking up the hamburger meat, hot dogs, buns, and all sorts of other foods that will make the perfect Fourth of July barbecue. The kids have ten boxes of sparklers each at the ready and you’re gearing up for the all the friends and family that you will be seeing for the first time in days, weeks or months. The location is set, the swimming suits packed and – oh yeah! – you just remembered the sun block. “Am I forgetting anything…?”

Our nation’s independence is a great thing to celebrate, and I hope you do. Are you preparing for all possibilities? Don’t forget about emergency first aid preparedness. As you go out to the parks and city streets to cook out and watch fireworks, here are some things to keep in mind:

Holiday Traffic Safety

  • Be aware of and avoid intoxicated drivers. Some signs include:
    • Drivers who turn with a wide radius.
    • Drivers at speeds 10 miles below the speed limit or speeding excessively.
    • Drivers who are following too closely.
    • Drivers who have a slow response to traffic signals.
  • Never drink and drive. Alcohol is the single largest factor involved in motor vehicle deaths. Have a responsible designated driver when you head out for Fourth of July activities.
  • Don’t allow the holiday rush to affect your driving. A few extra minutes saved by reckless driving aren’t worth the injuries you may cause to yourself and others.
  • When attending firework displays and special events, remember to obey all traffic lanes and signals, and avoid cutting directly across parking lots. Never race other drivers to an open parking space. When leaving the festivities, pay attention while backing out of your parking space to avoid hitting other vehicles or pedestrians.

Outdoor Grill Safety

  • The first step to cookout safety is to have fresh food. Store meats and other perishables in an insulated cooler to prevent bacterial growth.
  • Keep grills away from all flammable materials, including trees and shrubbery. Store unused starter fluid and charcoal briquettes away from the grill, preferably in a fireproof container.
  • Keep your children away from the grill. Gas grills can have an interior temperature of more than 800 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Never add starter fluid to an already burning grill. The fire can spread up the stream of starter fluid and into the can causing an explosion. Also, wash your hands after using starter fluid to avoid setting yourself on fire.

Firework Safety

  • Be sure that the fireworks display you plan on attending is a legitimate one. Legitimate firework events will have proper authorities and medical staff in attendance.
  • Never take pets to a firework display. Animals can become spooked very easily by the loud noises fireworks make. Remember the bug spray. Mosquitoes and other insects are en masse this time of year.
Source: American Association of Safety Councils

Barbecue Tips for the Weekend

June 26, 2009

As we fire up our barbecues for the weekend, and are nearing the Fourth of July, here are some tips for proper maintenance and operation from Catherine Jones of Safety XChange.


  • Operate BBQ outdoors only, 10 feet from house, garage and trees
  • Maintain your BBQ by replacing rusted or worn hoses and fittings
  • Test for leaks and check tubes for blockage
  • Keep lid open when lighting gas grill, to prevent flash off from gas build-up
  • Turn BBQ off if you smell gas and don’t attempt to relight until the leak is fixed
  • Keep alcohol away from grills
  • Use baking soda on grease fires – not water – and keep the proper fire extinguisher handy
  • Cap lighter fluid immediately and place it a safe distance from the grill


  • Leave an operating barbecue unattended
  • Move an operating BBQ
  • Wear loose or flowing clothing while tending to the BBQ
  • Use gasoline or kerosene as a starter
  • Store LP cylinders indoors
  • Store spare cylinders near the grill or appliances