This Fourth of July, many people will be traveling, firing up the backyard grill or enjoying fireworks, and the American Red Cross offers a series of steps everyone can follow to safely enjoy the holiday weekend.
HIGHWAY SAFETY Millions of people will be on the highways over the [summer/Memorial Day/Fourth of July] weekend. The Red Cross offers these five things everyone should do to stay safe while traveling:
- Buckle seat belts, observe speed limits.
- Do not drink and drive.
- Pay full attention to the road – don’t use a cell phone to call or text.
- Use caution in work zones.
- 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.
FIREWORKS SAFETY 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:
- Never give fireworks to small children, and always follow the instructions on the packaging.
- Keep a supply of water close by as a precaution.
- Make sure the person lighting fireworks always wears eye protection.
- Light only one firework at a time and never attempt to relight “a dud.”
- Never throw or point a firework toward people, animals, vehicles, structures or flammable materials.
GRILLING SAFETY Every year people are injured while using charcoal or gas grills. Here are several steps to safely cook up treats for the backyard barbecue:
- Always supervise a barbecue grill when in use.
- Never grill indoors – not in the house, camper, tent, or any enclosed area.
- Make sure everyone, including the pets, stays away from the grill.
- Keep the grill out in the open, away from the house, the deck, tree branches, or anything that could catch fire.
- Use the long-handled tools especially made for cooking on the grill to keep the chef safe.
RED CROSS APPS People can download the all-inclusive Red Cross Emergency app which combines more than 35 emergency alerts to help keep the user safe. And there is a special mobile app – Monster Guard – designed for kids, teaching them to prepare for emergencies at home by playing an engaging game. Users can find the apps in smartphone app stores by searching for the American Red Cross or going toredcross.org/apps.
HOME FIRE CAMPAIGN Seven times a day someone in this country dies in a fire. The Red Cross has been working to reduce that number through its Home Fire Campaign, a multi-year effort to reduce the number of home fire deaths and injuries by 25 percent. Launched in October of 2014, the Red Cross and thousands of campaign partners have helped save many lives through the effort, as well as installing hundreds of thousands of smoke alarms in homes all across the country. Here in the Central and Southern Illinois Region, the Red Cross has installed more than 9,000 free smoke alarms.
WHAT PEOPLE CAN DO People can visit redcross.org/homefires to find out more about how to protect themselves and their loved homes from fire. They can become a Red Cross volunteer by contacting Samuel.Evans@redcross.org. They can also help by donating to Red Cross Disaster Relief by visiting redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Donations to Disaster Relief will be used to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small.
About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.