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Holiday Safety: Making sure your Fourth of July festivities are safe

Happy Fourth of July! This year, celebrate America’s Declaration of Independence in a safe way. Here are some safety tips to cover a range of activities you might enjoy this weekend.

Protect Yourself from the New Coronavirus Strains

Whether you’re attending a family gathering , or perhaps you’re heading out to a bar or restaurant, or maybe you’re venturing to a holiday-related function, you may find yourself amid a mixed crowd of vaccinated and unvaccinated people. With that, it is inevitable to face some health risks.

The new strains make it more imperative for people to be vigilant about slowing the spread.

Here are a few ways to keep yourself and others safe.

  • One of the best modes of protection would be to avoid crowded spaces and large gatherings. If you find yourself in a crowded space or with a lot of people – whether you are vaccinated or not – it’s still best to wear masks, especially if indoors. That is particularly true for individuals who live with people who are ineligible for the vaccine, such as children under 12, some immunocompromised patients and other adults with certain health conditions.
  • Rather than leisurely shopping for food, clothes, and other necessities, try to shorten the amount of time you spend indoors shopping. “Every minute spent shopping indoors increases your risk,” Braunstein said. “When possible, utilize options such as curbside pickup or delivery service to further reduce your exposure.”
  • It is important to continue to wash or sanitize your hands. The ideal holiday event would include handwashing stations and plenty of hand sanitizer, suggested Elizabeth Delery, Assistant Professor of Microbiology and Immunology at Marion University College of Osteopathic Medicine.

Sparklers and Fireworks

A good fireworks show can elicit many “oohs” and “ahhhs”, but fireworks can cause potentially harmful and unexpected outcomes, too.

Take the proper precautions when operating fireworks.

Never try to make your own fireworks.

Never point sparklers or fireworks at yourself or others, especially while they are being lit.

Always light fireworks on the ground and in areas that are dry and fire resistant.

Always light fireworks one at a time.

Never allow young children to handle fireworks or sparklers.

Keep a portable fire extinguisher, water hose, or buckets of water nearby just in case of fire.

Do not relight fireworks if they malfunction.

If you wish to attend public firework shows to keep social distancing practices in mind, or even better, watch from your car if possible.

Alcohol

Drink responsibly. Do not drink and drive, and follow all state laws related to drinking ages and drinking in public. Also, July 4 is a Sunday, which means that liquor stores will be closed and liquor sales will not be permitted.

Never put yourself in a position where you might drink and drive.

Choose a designated driver before celebrations begin

You can also use apps like Uber or Lyft.

Never ride in a car with a driver who may be under the influence of alcohol.

Water Activities

July is one of the hottest months of the year, so many of us turn to the pool or visit a lake to beat the heat. Make sure to stay safe in and around the water.

Understand water safety rules and keep a first aid kit nearby.

Make sure you understand safe boat operating practices, and ensure there are life jackets onboard for every passenger.

Never go swimming or operate a boat after drinking alcohol.

Grills

July is one of the most exciting months for grilling meals outdoors with friends and family.

Before grilling, always check gas grill hoses for cracks, holes or leaks.

Keep children and pets away from grills.

Never grill on any surface that might catch fire.

Always keep the grill at least two feet away from any outdoor equipment or structures that could catch fire easily, and do not keep the grill on a wooden porch or a small apartment balcony.

Stay safe, have fun and celebrate American independence responsibly!

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