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Salvi Law Fourth of July safety guide

30

June

2017

fireworks-accident-image

CHICAGO (July 1, 2017) – The Fourth of July marks the peak of summer. For many, it means a long weekend, a road trip out of town, cookouts, swimming, boating, parties, and, of course, fireworks. As we celebrate our nation’s birthday, we need to keep the most important thing in mind – safety!

We have put together the following Fourth of July safety guide to help you and your family enjoy your holiday weekend.

Fireworks

While fireworks are one of the most common ways we celebrate our country’s independence, they are also a potentially dangerous festivity.  It is important to remember that while very beautiful, fireworks are the equivalent of small explosives. Burns, fallout, and faulty work can cause serious injury and, in some extreme cases, death.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, an average of more than 200 people go to the emergency room every day during the month surround the Fourth of July for fireworks-related injuries. However, you can greatly reduce the risk of injury by following a few safety tips:

  • Always have an adult supervise all fireworks activities.
  • Never allow children to play with or ignite fireworks.
  • Obey all date and local laws regarding the sale, possession and use of fireworks.
  • Store fireworks in a cool, dry place away from children and pets
  • Wear safety glasses when igniting fireworks
  • Never lean over or place any body part directly above fireworks when lighting the fuse.
  • Always move to a safe distance after lighting fireworks.
  • Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not fully ignited.
  • Never throw or point fireworks at another individual.
  • Always keep a bucket of water, a hose, or a fire extinguisher handy in case of fire.
  • Always douse spent fireworks with water to prevent a trash fire.

When you are injured in a fireworks accident that wasn’t your fault, you could be entitled to compensation for your injuries. This is especially true when the accident occurs at a large public event. If you or someone you know is injured by fireworks, contact our office to learn more about your rights.

Grilling

Fourth of July weekend isn’t complete without a good cookout! But every year, people are injured while using charcoal or gas grills.

Experts say failure to clean the grill is the leading cause of grill fires in the United States. Other causes include leaks or breaks, or something flammable being too close to the grill. Luckily, there are several ways to reduce the risk of grill fires at your home:

  • Always supervise a grill when in use.
  • Never grill indoors – not in your house, camper, tent, or any enclosed area.
  • Make sure everyone, including the pets, stays away from the grill.
  • Keep the grill out in the open, away from the house, the deck, tree branches, or anything that could catch fire.
  • Use the long-handled tools to keep the chef safe.
  • Never add charcoal starter fluid when coals have already been ignited.
  • Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using grills.
  • Clean your grill after each use to remove grease
  • Open your gas grill before lighting it

In addition to avoiding fires, health officials urge chefs to wash their hands and keep raw meats separate from other foods to avoid food-borne illnesses.

Travel

Officials say more than 44 million people will hit the road this year for the Fourth of July.  With increased traffic volume, coupled with a greater number of people drinking, the Fourth of July is one of the deadliest holidays of the year.

In anticipation of the increased risk for crashes, many law enforcement agencies ramp up their DUI enforcement efforts during holiday weekends. While authorities do their best to combat drinking and driving with these checkpoints, it is ultimately up to an individual to take safety into their own hands. If you plan on drinking this holiday weekend, be sure to use public transportation, cabs, or designate a member of your group to be a sober driver for the night. In addition, it is important to:

  • Buckle up
  • Reduce speed
  • Don’t text and drive
  • Drive defensively
  • Avoid driving while fatigued
  • Keep children 12 years old and younger in the back seat while driving

Boating

Fourth of July brings thousands of boaters to the water. And more boats on the water means more alcohol, congestion, and an increased risk of accidents and arrests. If you plan to hit the water this weekend, be sure to do so legally and responsibly.

In Illinois, it is required that anyone born after Jan. 1, 1998 must take and pass a boating safety course as well as hold a valid boating safety certificate before operating a boat with an engine of more than 10 horsepower. The majority of boating accidents occur between the months of June, July and August and involve operators between the ages of 20 and 40 who have more than 100 hours of boating experience, but have little to no classroom boating safety instruction.

Additionally, it is important to remember that while drinking a cold beer on a boat during the summer is just about as American as it gets, drinking and boating is just as dangerous as drinking and driving. In Illinois, the legal blood-alcohol limit is .08 percent, the same as driving a vehicle. An OUI is considered a Class A misdemeanor and could leave the offender with either a $2,500 fine or a year in jail. If the person causes an accident that results in serious injury or death or is charged with a second OUI, the violation could increase to a felony.

It is also important to remember to always check the weather before venturing out on a boat and to wear a proper fitting life jacket.

Swimming

Swimming pools are a great way to beat the heat and have some fun on a hot summer day. But pools can quickly become dangerous if swimmers do not follow a few simple safety tips.

Drowning is the leading cause of unintentional death in children between the ages of 1 and 4. But drowning affects people of all ages and swimming abilities.

  • Never leave a child unattended in or near the water, and actively supervise children
  • Stay within arm’s reach of young children and avoid distractions
  • Only swim in designated areas supervised by a lifeguard
  • Teach children to swim
  • Warn children to stay away from drains
  • Ensure all pools and spas you may visit have compliant drain covers
  • Install proper barriers and covers around your pool and spa
  • Know CPR

Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard has partnered with the national pool safety campaign Pool Safely to promote safe water habits! Please click here to learn more about our partnership with Pool Safely. 

In addition to being safe in and around the water, it is important to consider sun exposure during the day. People should limit sun exposure between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. when UV levels are the highest, wear sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or more, and drink plenty of water and watch for signs of heat stroke.

Symptoms of heat stroke include high body temperature, dry or damp skin, headache, nausea, and/or passing out.

Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C. has a strong history of helping injured people get the compensation they deserve. If you or someone you love is hurt due to the negligence of another person or entity, call our office for a free consultation.

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