Keep you and your loved ones safe this Independence Day.

Meagan Emerson

If you’re like many people, you and your family are going to enjoy some fun in the summer sun, and maybe even set off a firework or two. While going outside or setting off fireworks can be a blast (literally), they can also be dangerous if you’re not careful.  

Keep you and your loved ones safe from heat stress or firework-related accidents with the following tips.

Heat Stress

The human body is normally able to regulate its temperature through sweating until it is exposed to more heat than it can handle. Heat exhaustion and heat stroke can strike without warning and escalate quickly, leading to delirium, organ damage or even death.

The risk is real: in 2021, 201 people died from excessive heat. Factors that put people at risk heat illness include:
  • People who work in the heat  
  • Infants/children who are left in the car
  • People 65 and over
  • People who have chronic health conditions and or are on certain medications
  • People who are overweight

Stay safe from heat stress or other heat-related illnesses with these tips from the National Safety Council:
  • Work short shifts until you have adjusted to the heat
  • Stay hydrated and make sure you are drinking before you get thirsty
  • Watch out for co-workers showing signs of heat exhaustion/stroke
  • Take time to rest and cool down
  • Cool off in the air conditioning
  • Avoid alcohol
  • Wear loose, lightweight clothing and a hat
  • Replace salt lost from sweating by drinking fruit juice or sports drink
  • Avoid spending time outdoors during the hottest part of the day (11 AM to 3 PM)
  • Pace yourself when you run or exert your body
  • Watch out for signs of heat exhaustion, including: pale or moist skin; muscle cramps; fatigue, weakness, or exhaustion; headache, dizziness, or fainting; nausea or vomiting; and rapid heart rate

Heat exhaustion can quickly turn into heat stroke. In the event of heat exhaustion:
  • Take the victim to a shaded/ air-conditioned area
  • Give them water or other cool beverages
  • Apply wet towels or have them take a cool shower if able
  • Call 911 if you think someone is exhibiting the signs of heat stroke, including: body temp above 103; skin that is flushed, dry and hot to the touch (sweating has stopped at this point); rapid breathing; headache, dizziness, confusion, or other signs of altered mental status; irrational or belligerent behavior, convulsions or unresponsiveness.
  • In the event of a heat stroke, do not force the victim to drink liquids, apply rubbing alcohol to the skin, or allow the victim to take pain relievers or salt tablets

Firework Safety

While heat-related illnesses are a threat all summer long, fireworks-related accidents typically fall in the days before, during, and after July 4th. According to the National Safety Council, fireworks start an average of 18,500 fires each year, and result in thousands of injuries and deaths each year.  

Keep you and your loved ones safe this Independence Day with the following tips from the National Safety Council:
  • Never allow young children to handle fireworks
  • For children under 5, consider using glow sticks, confetti poppers, or streamers in place of sparklers
  • Older children should use fireworks only under close adult supervision
  • Never use fireworks while impaired by drugs or alcohol
  • Wear protective eyewear when handling fireworks
  • Never light a firework in your hand
  • Never light a firework indoor
  • Light them away from people, houses, and flammable material
  • Never point or throw a firework at someone
  • Only light one firework at a time
  • Maintain a safe distance after lighting the fireworks
  • Never ignite devices in a container
  • Do not re-lite or try to handle malfunctioning fireworks
  • Soak used and unused fireworks in water for a few hours before discarding
  • Always keep a bucket of water nearby in case of a fire
  • Never light illegal fireworks
  • Sparklers account for 25% of emergency room visits for firework injuries
  • Sparklers can quickly ignite clothing
  • Children get severe burns to the feet because many children drop them
  • Sparklers burn at 2,000 degrees, hot enough to melt some metals

We hope you and your friends and family have fun this summer. Most importantly, we encourage you to stay safe by following the advice above.

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