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family watching fireworks

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July 4th is here, and America’s celebration of Independence Day means a day of fun and family. You’re probably about to start firing up the grill, but to have an unforgettable holiday, you should still take precautions when it comes to home safety. July 4th can be dangerous for the foolhardy. Here are six steps for a safe Independence Day celebration.

1. Don’t play with fireworks

July 4th includes more calls to the fire department than any other day of the year. Fireworks are the reason. Several thousand people not only injure themselves on Independence Day each year, but some of them accidentally start fires.

Don’t become a statistic. Either err on the side of caution with your fireworks or, better yet, find the nearest community fireworks display and watch that instead.

2. Protect your pets

July of 2014 was the fourth-hottest month ever. Imagine how that kind of weather feels for your furry friends. A memorable commercial warned that days hot enough to fry an egg can also hurt your dog. Before you head out to celebrate the holiday, check to make sure your home air conditioning is working properly, and under no circumstances should you leave them in a car.

3. Swim safely

Splashing around in the water is an integral part of July 4th for many people. You don’t want to act foolhardy, though. If you’re swimming in an unfamiliar area, remain wary of currents that can trap you or push you out to deeper water.

Also, avoid the temptation to mix alcohol and swimming. Alcohol is a factor in at least 20 percent of adult drownings each year. Being smart while in the water definitely applies on holidays.

kids jumping into a swimming pool

4. Use food containers

Odds are that your July 4th festivities will include a fair share of eating outside. Whether you’re hosting a cookout, attending a parade, or visiting family, you’ll probably wind up manning a grill or purchasing food from someone who did.

Bugs can get into leftover food if it’s not stored in containers. While it’s great to share your food with friends and family, the same is not true of ants and flies. Be sanitary by storing everything in containers. Otherwise, your holiday celebration will lead to a post-holiday illness.

5. Stay hydrated

This is a rookie mistake, yet it’s one that happens every year. People get swept up in the moment, and they forget to take care of their basic needs. When temperatures on July 4th reach the 90s or higher, your natural fluids will dissipate faster. You need to replenish them with water as often as possible. It’s a good idea to store a case of water in the trunk of your car for situations like this.

6. Be smart and safe when it comes to car travel

Just as we share a common enthusiasm for Independence Day, we also share the roads. There will be traffic. Don’t let it get to you no matter how many people cut you off or ride your bumper (hopefully no one will!). Focus on the positive. You’re celebrating, remember!

Otherwise, don’t forget your driver’s etiquette; signal, let people merge, wave when other drivers let you in, keep an eye on your speed, and watch for pedestrians. Also, consider staying off of the roads completely to do your part in reducing that traffic that drives everyone nuts. Carpool, take public transit, find local events you can walk or bike to.

Independence Day is your day

You’re going to have a wonderful holiday. Simply follow these six tips to avoid the easy mistakes that could ruin an otherwise perfect day. Make your July 4th the best ever this year by making it your own.

 

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Cate Morgan-Harlow

Cate Morgan-Harlow is an all arounder, writing about how-to, DIY, and design with gusto. She is a shadowy figure with a mysterious past.