Star Staff Reports
On Independence Day, citizens will celebrate their freedom on our nation’s 239th birthday. As American flags decorate front yards, families will gather in backyards, pools, and parks. Director Dale Lane and the staff at the Shelby County Office of Preparedness suggest these safety tips to ensure a safe holiday:
Outdoor Grill Safety: Operate outdoor grills in an open area away from the house, the deck, and trees. Clean the grill by removing grease and fat buildup before use. Use long-handled tools. Keep children and pets at a safe distance from outdoor cooking. Never leave your grill unattended.
Water Safety: Teach everyone water safety rules. Small children should wear floatation devices while keeping them away from pool drains, pipes, and other openings. If boating, review water safety rules. Never consume alcohol when driving a boat. Make sure all passengers wear a life-preserver.
Pet Safety: Crowds, loud explosions of fireworks, smoke, and bright lights may upset your pet. They may react by going into hiding or trying to escape. If possible, leave your pet at home. If they are attending the outdoor events, make sure they wear a leash and are microchipped for identification.
Firework Safety: Consumer fireworks can be dangerous and deadly. Sparklers, burning at 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit, can cause third degree burns. The best way to protect your family is to attend one of the free public fireworks displays and leave the lighting of fireworks to the professionals.
Make a plan: Check the weather forecast before attending outdoor events. If storms are predicted, make sure you know where the nearest sturdy building is located. Make a plan where everyone will meet in case of an emergency. Keep a close eye on children, seniors, and pets. Keep cell phones charged.
Stay vigilant: Emergency managers and law enforcement will be on high alert over the holidays to ensure public safety. Assist them by reporting suspicious behavior. Call 911. If you see something, say something!
The Shelby County Office of Preparedness wishes your family a peaceful and safe holiday weekend!