It’s easy to get complacent about safety, especially when you’re on vacation and focused on fun and relaxation. Given that the Fourth of July weekend is statistically the most dangerous weekend of the year, it’s essential to take precautions to ensure you and your loved ones stay safe over the holiday. Traffic accidents, fire- and fireworks-related injuries, and swimming-related accidents are the top reasons individuals find themselves in the Emergency Room over the Fourth.
The potential for accidents and injury compounds in a new environment, such as a campground, Airbnb, or a relative’s house. With that in mind, here are some essential safety tips if you’re traveling over the Fourth of July.
Secure your home
Before leaving, take time to ensure your home is protected while you’re away. Empty the garbage, clean out the refrigerator, and close all the doors and windows securely. A pile of packages or newspapers on your doorstep is a dead giveaway to thieves that you’re out of town, so ask a neighbor to collect your mail if you’ll be away for several days.
Pack a first aid kit
You should always pack a first aid kit to treat minor injuries while camping or traveling. Don’t assume the friend or relatives you’re visiting will have one on hand. Also be sure to pack any essential medications you may need, including prescriptions, allergy medications (including EpiPens), inhalers, and any other meds that might be difficult to find outside of a well-stocked pharmacy.
Since many businesses have reduced hours over the holidays, accessing essential supplies in a pinch will be harder. Pick up a pre-made first aid kit from your local pharmacy before leaving town so you’re prepared to treat minor injuries like cuts, scrapes, and sunburn.
Assess your new surroundings
When you reach your new destination, familiarize yourself with the potential hazards in the area. Is there a pool that young children could fall into? Are there steep stairways or loose rugs that could be tripping hazards? If you’re at the beach or a lake, are there any swimming advisories for things like rip tides or swimmer’s itch?
Make a mental note of safety features on the property, including smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, and water sources for putting out fires. If there’s no carbon monoxide detector on the property, consider purchasing a portable one from a local hardware store.
Practice fire safety
Grilling, bonfires, and fireworks are common pillars of a Fourth of July celebration. If they are part of your plans, take basic safety precautions to protect yourself and your loved ones.
- Make sure the smoke detector inside your rental home or RV is functioning properly
- Keep a portable fire extinguisher or a bucket of water on hand to put out any unruly flames.
- Clear the area around the fire or grill of any potential tripping hazards like cords, hoses, and debris
- Supervise children and pets carefully to ensure they are safe. If you have young children, go over some basic fire safety rules to encourage them to be careful around open flames.
- Always follow the instructions on your fireworks packages
- Take care to ensure any fires are fully extinguished before turning in for the night
The Fourth of July is an exciting holiday for many, and accidents are bound to happen with so many people celebrating. But, taking the time to mentally assess potential hazards and formulate an emergency plan is a fantastic way to prevent accidents, especially when you’re away from home.
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