This Fourth of July, friends and loved ones across Louisiana will gather to celebrate our nation's independence and what is, for many, the unofficial start of summer. It's a day of celebration that can often end in a trip to the emergency room. If your traditions include fireworks, barbecues, or relaxing days at the pool or beach, the American Red Cross, South Louisiana Chapter wants people to enjoy their holiday and has steps they can follow to be safe.
FIREWORKS SAFETY The safest way to enjoy fireworks is to attend a public fireworks show put on by professionals. Stay at least 500 feet away from the show. Many parishes outlaw most fireworks. If someone is setting fireworks off at home, they should follow these safety steps:
GRILLING SAFETY Every year people in this country are injured while using backyard charcoal or gas grills. Follow these steps to safely cook up treats for the backyard barbecue:
BEACH SAFETY If someone's visit to the shore includes swimming in the ocean, they should learn how to swim in the surf and only swim at a lifeguarded beach, within the designated swimming area. Obey all instructions and orders from lifeguards. Other safety tips include:
RIP CURRENTS Rip currents are responsible for deaths on our nation's beaches every year, and for most of the rescues performed by lifeguards. Any beach with breaking waves may have rip currents. Be aware of the danger of rip currents and remember the following:
SUN PROTECTION Limit exposure to direct sunlight between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., and wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a protection factor of at least 15. Reapply sunscreen often. Remember to drink plenty of water regularly, even if not thirsty. Avoid drinks with alcohol or caffeine in them. Protect the eyes by wearing sunglasses that will absorb 100 percent of UV sunlight. Protect the feet - the sand can burn them and glass and other sharp objects can cut them.
During hot weather, watch for signs of heat stroke—hot, red skin; changes in consciousness; rapid, weak pulse; rapid, shallow breathing. If it's suspected someone is suffering from heat stroke: