July 4 Holiday: Tips for Staying Safe

ALTOONA – Warm weather, grilled food and fireworks mean one thing – the Fourth of July. Before you and your family celebrate, make sure everyone is educated about outdoor grilling and fireworks safety.

Fireworks can cause burn and eye injuries in children and adults. Protect your family and do not use fireworks at home.

“The safest way to enjoy fireworks is to watch them at a community event where professionals handle them,” said Sherry Turchetta, coordinator of Safe Kids Blair County and community educator at UPMC Altoona.

“Don’t ever let kids play with fireworks or sparklers.”

Fireworks, including sparklers and flares, can cause serious burns, as well as blast injuries that can permanently impair vision and hearing. Sparklers can reach 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit, hot enough to melt gold.

“Teach your children how to call 911 in an emergency.  Also, teach them what to do if their clothing catches on fire: Stop, drop and roll,” added Turchetta.

For adults, here are tips to prevent mishaps when grilling on the patio or at a campfire:

  • Grill only outdoors. If used indoors, or in any enclosed spaces, such as garages or tents, barbecue grills pose both a fire hazard and the risk of exposing occupants to carbon monoxide.
  • Position the grill well away from siding, deck railings, out from under eaves and overhanging branches and a safe distance from lawn games, play areas and foot traffic.
  • Do not wear loose clothing while cooking at a grill.
  • Make sure your gas grill lid is open before lighting.
  • When cooking food, use long-handled grilling tools to give plenty of clearance from heat and flames.
  • Periodically remove grease or fat buildup in trays below grill so it can’t be ignited.
  • Be careful when using lighter fluid. Do not add fluid to an already lit fire.
  • At campfires, keep children and pets away from the fire area.
  • Never leave, grills, and patio torches unattended.
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