Celebrating Independence Day, the Safe Way
BY BRIAN DOWNS
Enjoying family and friends, the summer weather and our freedom is what celebrating Independence Day is all about. Even with COVID-19 limitations this year, we can still do many of the things we’re used to doing – cooking out, watching fireworks and going for a ride. But all of those need to be done with safety in mind. The Lehigh Valley DUI/Highway Safety Task Force, of which Lehigh Valley Health Network is a member, has these tips and reminders:
The National Fire Protection Association says more than 9,000 people end up in emergency rooms each year due to fireworks-related injuries, most involving burns and traumatic injuries to the hands, legs and head. While current Pennsylvania law does permit the sale, purchase and use of Class C fireworks by consumers, there are restrictions about where and when they can be used which can vary by municipality. The Lehigh Valley DUI/Highway Safety Task Force recommends that the best way to enjoy fireworks is to leave them to the professionals.
Barbeque and grill just as you would in your kitchen – with safety in mind. If your hair is long, make sure it’s pulled back, and if you happen to have on a long-sleeved shirt, roll up the sleeves. Also, keep young children away from the grill, and never leave the grill unattended.
Backyard fire pits
In some communities, outdoor fire pits, fire rings and chimneys using wood are prohibited. Natural gas or propane fire pits – if installed per the International Fire Code and approved by a fire inspector – are allowed in some communities. Check on the legal use of backyard fire pits with your local municipality. Should you have an outdoor fire pit, make sure it is always monitored and that children aren’t permitted near it – even for s’mores making – without adult supervision.
Nearly 200 people died in crashes nationwide during the 4th of July holiday period in 2018, and 40 percent of those crashes involved alcohol. It’s simple: If you are planning to travel for the holiday, only drive if you are sober, make sure all your vehicle occupants are buckled up and take your time. You could save a life.