With July 4th falling on a Monday this year, many of us get a full three-day weekend to gather with friends and families. Whether you’re hosting a barbecue, heading to a local pool or catching a fireworks display, make sure you celebrate safely.
Independence Day activities can be fun. But they also may increase your risk for injuries.
“Almost every July 4th holiday, we see people come into our Emergency Department with burn-related injuries due to barbeque grills,” says emergency medicine physician Michael Prasto, MD, with the Level II Adult Trauma Center at Grand View Health. “We also see an increase in trip-and-fall injuries, often due to alcohol impairments.”
Keep yourself — and your family and friends — safe. Follow these five safety tips.
- Clean your grill
Remove grease and fat buildup from the grills and in the trays below the grills. These are leading causes of grill fires (July is the peak month for house fires caused by grills, according to the National Fire Protection Association). Also, check the propane gas tank and hose for leaks. When you grill, create a “safety zone” so you’re far away from your home, railings, overhead branches, children and pets. And never leave the grill unattended.
- Drink responsibly.
If you choose to drink, know your limit, and pace yourself accordingly. On average, a person metabolizes about one standard drink an hour. The National Safety Council estimates that nationally, 462 may lose their life this year in preventable motor vehicle accidents, many of which may involve alcohol.
- Leave fireworks to the professionals.
Attend a public fireworks display. “It’s the best way to prevent burns from fireworks-related injuries,” Prasto says.
- Practice pool safety.
The biggest risk of pool and other water-related activities is drowning. About 11 people a day die from drowning, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Another 8,000 people experience a non-fatal drowning injury. Always be sure to watch children when they’re in the water. Wear a lifejacket when boating, rafting, water skiing, jet skiing or fishing. And never drink and swim.
- Keep plenty of water and a phone nearby.
Temperatures are expected to be in the mid-to-high 80s this weekend, so be sure to hydrate. Also, if you’re grilling (or you insist on using fireworks at home), keep a bucket of water or hose nearby so you can respond quickly to any accident. Also, make sure a cell phone is in reach. If you suffer any burn injury, run the affected area under cold water for 15 minutes or until the pain subsides. For serious burns, call 9-1-1 immediately.
Need care over July 4 weekend? Grand View Health’s Emergency Department and Level II Adult Trauma Center are open 24/7.
For common illnesses or minor injuries, Grand View Health Urgent Care in Quakertown and Kulpsville will be open from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday and from 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. on Monday, July 4. Book an Urgent Care appointment.