Red Cross Offers Independence Day Safety Tips

ROCHESTER, N.Y., Thursday, July 1, 2010 — As Independence Day approaches, many of us will prepare for travel, barbeque, and fireworks. The American Red Cross wishes everyone a safe Fourth of July weekend, and provides some tips to ensure that you remain safe while having fun.“It is never too early to start thinking about safety,” says Leighton Jones, Director of Disaster & Emergency Services of the American Red Cross Finger Lakes Region. “Being prepared in the event of an emergency ensures you have taken the steps to minimize the chance of disaster.” Follow these Red Cross tips to make sure your holiday weekend is safe.Travel Tips• With more people on the roads during the holiday, it’s more important than ever to drive safely—which means being well rested and alert, buckling up, observing speed limits and following the rules of the road.• If you plan on drinking, designate a driver who won’t drink.• Find out what disasters may occur where you are traveling, especially if they are disasters you have never experienced. Find out how you would get information in the event of a disaster (local radio systems, emergency alert systems).Grilling• Even if you consider yourself a lean, mean, grilling machine, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it safely. • First, always supervise a barbecue grill when in use. Nobody likes a burned burger (or a burned anything else).• Never add charcoal starter fluid when coals have already been ignited.• Keep the grill out in the open, away from the house, the deck, tree branches, or anything that could catch fire. That means you should not be grilling in your house, camper, tent or any enclosed area• While you’re mastering the art of the perfectly-cooked steak, make sure everyone else, including the pets, stays away from the grill.• Keep yourself safe by using the long-handled tools especially made for cooking on the grill.Fireworks• Store fireworks in a cool, dry place away from children and pets.• 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.• Stay at least 500 feet away from professional fireworks displays, and leave any area immediately where untrained amateurs are using fireworks.The American Red Cross wishes everyone a safe and happy Fourth of July. For more safety and preparedness tips, visit www.redcross.org

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