I hate to sound like a stick in the mud on the eve of July Fourth but nobody wants a tragedy, and ironically the times we are most at risk are when we are celebrating.
When You're Watching Fireworks
Fireworks are a big deal right now, in both public and private displays. The safest way to enjoy this is in the audience, at least 500 feet back, according to the Red Cross, watching the professionals at work.
Thousands of people will be hurt by fireworks on the Fourth of July. Emergency rooms in 2013 treated almost 12,000 people hurt by fireworks, NFPA.org reports. Children up to the age of 4 years old are most frequently injured, with the next age group most affected between 10 and 14 years old.
Fireworks started 17,800 fires in 2011. There were 1200 structure fires, 400 fires to vehicles, with 40 civilian injuries, and property damage of $32 million, according to NFPA.org.
If you are planning on having fireworks at home, or at a private party, there are ways of keeping things safe.
Little children should not handle nor be near fireworks of any kind. And adults who are lighting fireworks should wear protective eye gear.
A single firework should be lit at a time by someone who knows what they are doing. If one doesn't go off, don't try to light it again.
It's not funny or safe to point fireworks at any person or animal. Don't take chances aiming at buildings, vehicles or anything flammable.
Keep plenty of water readily at hand, just to be on the safe side.
When You Swim
Want to take the plunge in the pool or at the beach? Make it a great day by playing it safe. If there's a lifeguard, do what they tell you. If there isn't, don't take chances for yourself or others under your care.
Don't swim alone, and don't mix swimming with alcohol. Don't dive into unknown waters. Anyone who isn't a strong swimmer should be in a life jacket approved by the Coast Guard.
When You're in the Sun
With any luck the Fourth will be a hot sunny day -- which poses its own hazards. Use broad-spectrum sunscreen and be respectful of the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.