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Guest Opinion: Fourth of July Celebration Safety Tips

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By: John Robben, Regional Director of American Medical Response for Philladelpiha and Southern New Jersey


Every year, but even more so this year, the Fourth of July presents an opportunity to gather with friends and family and celebrate our nation's independence with food, fun, and fireworks. But after a year of lockdowns, it’s important to remain vigilant as we venture out to barbecues and picnics. Whether your family is grilling outdoors, engaging in water activities, watching (or setting off) fireworks, or participating in celebratory parades, AMR wants to remind you of the importance of holiday safety and is sharing a list of tips that will ensure everyone stays safe during this year’s festivities. 6a00d8341bf7d953ef0264e2dc1689200d-350wi


Fireworks Safety


  • Follow all instructions on the packaging 

  • Keep a bucket of water or a hose nearby as a precaution 

  • Wear eye protection

  • Never use fireworks while under the influence of drugs or alcohol 

  • Ignite only one firework at a time and never attempt to relight duds

  • Do not aim, throw or point fireworks at people, animals, vehicles, or structures 

  • Never give children fireworks 


Grilling Safety 

  • Make sure to store perishable foods at the proper temperature until you are ready to begin cooking. 

  • If using a cooler, make sure you pack plenty of ice or freezer packs.

  • Never leave a barbecue unattended while lit. 

  • Select a location away from children, pets or flammable objects 

  • Keep the grill clean by removing excess grease and residue 

  • Keep a fire extinguisher close by   

  • Use long-handled tongs and spatulas with heat-resistant handles  


Heat Safety

  • Exposure to excessive heat can quickly lead to dehydration. Remember to drink plenty of fluids, especially water, and avoid beverages with caffeine, sugar, or alcohol.  

  • During the hottest hours of the day, stay indoors. If your home is not air-conditioned, look for nearby cooling shelters, or spend the day in a cool public space like a library, community center or local shopping mall.  

  • Wear lightweight and light-colored clothing and don a hat and sunglasses to protect yourself from the sun's rays. Apply sunscreen to exposed skin and be sure to reapply it every 2 hours.  

  • Try to limit physical activities to the coolest parts of the day, like morning and evening hours. Make sure to take frequent breaks and stay hydrated.  

  • Do not leave children, elderly persons, or pets in cars. In under three minutes, the interior temperature of your vehicle can soar from 78 to 100 degrees, putting children, the elderly, and pets in danger of hyperthermia or heat stroke. If you see a child, an older adult, or an animal left in a hot car, call 911 immediately.  


Water Safety 

  • Never swim alone 

  • Only use approved flotation devices; do not rely on toys or inner tubes 

  • Don't take chances by overestimating your swimming skills 

  • Swim only in designated swimming areas  

  • Watch small children near water 

  • Never dive into rivers or lakes; each year nearly 3,000 people are paralyzed as a result of diving into shallow water or hitting an unseen underwater obstruction 


By prioritizing safety and preparedness, you'll be sure to have a holiday that is  a safe, healthy and Star-Spangled. 


For more holiday safety tips, visit