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Safety First on the Fourth

June 30, 2022

Marie J. Ignozzi

Fourth of July is upon us, which means it’s time to get your grills and lawn chairs ready for a day of fun.  This year, July 4th is likely to be a little “extra” as we emerge from the pandemic vaxed, relaxed, and ready to reconnect with family and friends.  Sadly, July 4th turns out to be one of the worst days every year for accidents. Injuries and fires caused by alcohol, fireworks, and most tragically, drownings, lead to a large number of insurance and injury claims.  Here are some safety tips and recommendations to ensure you can have a safe, healthy, and injury-free holiday.

Cooking: Keep it clean. One of the most common insurance claims on July 4th are cooking fires, and July is the peak month each year for grill fires (Source: NFPA).  Cooking fires can arise from open flames from the grill or smoker, charcoal ash, and bonfires (mind your marshmallows!).  Make sure to properly clean your grill before and after use.  Keep all grills away from the house, never grill indoors, and never leave an open flame unattended.  Finally, establish a safety zone to keep kids and pets away from the area.

Water safety: Have a plan.  July 4th is a very popular day for water activities like boating and swimming.  Boats, like cars, should not be operated by any person under the influence of alcohol.  If you own a boat and plan to invite guests, make sure your boater’s insurance policy is up to date, and check for proper safety equipment like a fire extinguisher and life jackets. As always, follow all authorities that govern using fireworks, cooking, and consuming alcohol while on a boat.

If you have a pool, make sure gates are secure and that an adult is present at all times.  Talk to your children, including older youth and teens, about water safety.  Never leave any child, even those who can swim, unattended at a pool.  If you are going to a community pool or beach, expect it to be crowded.  Make sure lifeguards are on duty and designate a “water watcher” whose sole responsibility is to keep an eye on those who are in the water swimming.

Travel: Slow down.  It is a morbid fact, but July 4th is one of the deadliest days on the road. Many people travel during the holiday to visit family, attend cookouts, and watch parades and fireworks.  The increase in accidents, particularly fatal ones, can be attributed to this higher volume, but also the involvement of alcohol.  To minimize your risk, travel at off-peak times, don’t use a cell phone or any other device while driving, and do not drive if you consumed any alcohol.  Best tip of all is to slow down and drive defensively.

Fireworks: Leave it to the pros.  Fireworks are synonymous with the Fourth.  After the past two year’s festivities were canceled during the pandemic, 2022 is set to bring back large-scale firework displays and with it, the low-budget, backyard BBQ pyrotechnic.  You should leave fireworks to the professionals, but if you decide to use sparklers or fireworks, exercise extreme caution.  Keep children and pets at an extra-safe distance, ignite them in wide-open areas away from trees and houses, adhere to any state and local regulations, and never, under any circumstances, light fireworks off of your body.

If you’re looking to be even better prepared before the holiday festivities begin, check out these resources:

Have a safe & healthy Fourth of July.

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