The 4th of July is a great holiday, often filled with loved ones, BBQ, fireworks and lots of beer. Celebrating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence deserves no less. Still, amidst all the excitement, it’s a good idea to show precaution for potential July 4th dangers, from grill-related burns to catastrophic fireworks injuries.
While these may not be very common occurrences, they do happen, as evidenced by New York Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, who almost lost his hand due to a fireworks-related injury on July 4th.
Even though you may be thinking safety preparation may sap the fun out of July 4th, reducing the prospects of danger for all involved will actually make it a more stress-free and fun experience for everyone. You can still have fun as usual, but keeping in mind the tips below will improve the chances you and your friends will keep all your fingers this 4th of July.
Fireworks Casualties: Not So Rare
Jason Pierre-Paul’s outcome was fortunate, as he didn’t suffer any major damage and was able to continue his career. Others haven’t been so lucky. There have been several fireworks-related deaths on July 4th.
The majority of these are due to user error and neglect, sometimes due to intoxication, which heeds the strongest tip when using fireworks. Do not touch or operate fireworks after drinking. Instead, just relax and let someone else handle it, or just look to the sky. Chances are, someone in the neighborhood is already setting some off.
Over 50,000 fires are caused by fireworks each year, prompting firework safety to be not just an individual concern, but a community one as well. As such, more tips to keep in mind include:
- Never create your own fireworks or attempt to disassemble any
- Light fireworks on the ground in a dry trip-free and fire-resistant environment
- Never allow children to handle fireworks or sparklers
- Never point fireworks/sparklers at someone else or yourself
Fireworks are arguably the most obvious danger when it comes to July 4th, so be sure to prioritize preventing against harm.
Grill Food, Not Your Arm
Grills are meant for burgers and hot dogs — not an accidental body part. Avoid first- or any-degree burns by taking a few grill-related measures into consideration, including checking the grill for cracks, leaks or holes. Gas leaks or damaged propane tanks can cause explosions and grill fires. It’s advised to keep children away from the grill at all times, but that’s not always possible, so it’s highly recommended to do a check-up on the grill to ensure its safety.
Additionally, make sure the grill is outside and at least two feet away from branches, trees, siding, decks or other potentially flammable equipment. Regardless of where the grill is, make sure to follow basic safety guidelines and have a fire suppressant ready, just in case. Keep these tips in mi nd throughout the summer to help avoid any grill-related injuries.
Fun on the Water
It’s July, so the weather hopefully will be good enough to go swimming, boating, fishing — whatever you like. Before doing so, keep a few things in mind. First, if operating any water vehicle, you should prepare as if you’re driving a car, which means do not drive it if you are over the legal limit for alcohol. Better yet, if you’ve had anything to drink, leave the boat driving to someone else who’s sober.
If you’re hosting a July 4th party, make sure a first aid kit is kept nearby your pool and the pool rules are established to help enforce safety. There should be an enclosed fence or barrier around the pool to prevent pets or small children from wandering in and drowning. It’s a terrible thought that doesn’t even have to be considered if there’s a gate and fence.
If boating, always check to verify there are enough life preservers. Boating and swimming are great 4th of July activities, but safety is advised since it can be difficult to tell who can’t swim and/or is intoxicated.
You can fully enjoy the holiday and do everything you usually do — from swimming and enjoying fireworks to drinking and socializing. But with some extra discretion, you can reduce the chances of anything happening like the Jason Pierre-Paul fireworks incident.