Baltimore — The Fourth of July holiday will soon be here and many of us will enjoy the outdoors, watch fireworks or host a family picnic. The American Red Cross wants everyone to enjoy their holiday and offers safety steps they can follow.
“The Independence Day Holiday is a great time for summer fun and we want to make sure everyone stays safe during their celebration,” said American Red Cross Greater Chesapeake Region CEO Scott R. Salemme. “It’s also a time when the number of people giving blood drops, but the need for blood donations continues. We are also asking that everyone consider giving blood over the holiday.”
HAVE A SAFE FOURTH OF JULY
The safest way to enjoy fireworks is to attend a public show put on by professionals. Stay at least 500 feet away from the show. Many states outlaw most fireworks. Leave any area immediately where untrained amateurs are using fireworks. If you are setting fireworks off at home, follow these safety steps:
1. Never give fireworks to small children, and never throw or point a firework toward people, animals, vehicles, structures or flammable materials. Always follow the instructions on the packaging.
2. Keep a supply of water close by as a precaution.
3. Make sure the person lighting fireworks always wears eye protection.
4. Light only one firework at a time and never attempt to relight “a dud.”
5. Store fireworks in a cool, dry place away from children and pets.
Hot cars can be deadly. Never leave children or pets in your vehicle. The inside temperature of the car can quickly reach 120 degrees. Check on animals frequently to ensure that they are not suffering from the heat. Make sure they have plenty of cool water.
Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids. Avoid drinks with caffeine or alcohol.
Avoid extreme temperature changes.
Wear loose-fitting, lightweight, light-colored clothing. Avoid dark colors because they absorb the sun’s rays.
Check on family, friends and neighbors who do not have air conditioning, who spend much of their time alone or who are more likely to be affected by the heat. If someone doesn’t have air conditioning, they should seek relief from the heat during the warmest part of the day in places like schools, libraries, theaters, malls, etc.
1. Don’t leave food out in the hot sun. Keep perishable foods in a cooler with plenty of ice or freezer gel packs.
2. Wash your hands before preparing the food.
3. If you are going to cook on a grill, always supervise the grill when in use. Don’t add charcoal starter fluid when coals have already been ignited. Use the long-handled tools especially made for cooking on the grill to keep the chef safe.
4. Never grill indoors. Keep the grill out in the open, away from the house, the deck, tree branches, or anything that could catch fire.
5. Make sure everyone, including the pets, stays away from the grill.
Blood donations often drop around Independence Day due to fewer volunteer-hosted blood drives, and this year is no exception. With many donors on vacation, blood drive sponsors will not be hosting as many blood drives at their place of work, worship or community gathering. Hundreds of fewer blood drives are held the week of July 4 than an average week.
The Red Cross is urging those who have never donated blood or platelets, as well as current donors, to make a donation appointment now and help sustain a sufficient blood supply this summer. To encourage donations around the July Fourth holiday, those who come to give blood or platelets from July 2 – July 7 will receive a special edition Red Cross T-shirt as a special thank you, while supplies last.
To schedule an appointment to donate blood or platelets, eligible individuals can use the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit redcrossblood.org, or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).