PRINCETON, NJ – This Fourth of July, many people will be traveling, firing up the backyard grill or enjoying swimming and other water-related activities and the American Red Cross is offering a series of steps people can follow to safely enjoy the holiday weekend.

“As we approach the Fourth of July, the Red Cross would like to remind everyone to take simple steps to have a fun and safe holiday weekend,” said Christy Hodde, interim regional CEO, American Red Cross North Jersey Region.

HIGHWAY SAFETY 

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Millions of people will be on the highways over the Fourth of July weekend, according to The Red Cross, which offers the following five travel safety traveling suggestions: 

  • Buckle seat belts, observe speed limits.
  • Do not drink and drive.
  • Pay full attention to the road – don’t use a cell phone to call or text.
  • Use caution in work zones.
  • Clean the vehicle’s lights and windows to help the driver see, especially at night. Turn the headlights on as dusk approaches, or during inclement weather.

GRILLING SAFETY 

Every year, people are injured while using charcoal or gas grills, accoring to The Red Cross, which offers the following steps to safely cook up treats for the backyard barbecue:

  • Always supervise a barbecue grill when in use.
  • Never grill indoors – not in the 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 especially made for cooking on the grill to keep the chef safe.

WATER SAFETY 

Many New Jerseyians may be planning swimming and other water-related activities for the Fourth of July. The Red Cross encourages everyone to make water safety a priority as they enjoy pools or any of the state’s beaches, lakes and rivers. Below are some tips:

  • Ensure everyone in the family knows how to swim and only swim in designated areas supervised by lifeguards.
  • Always swim with a buddy; do not allow anyone to swim alone.
  • Have young children or inexperienced swimmers wear U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets around water, but do not rely on life jackets alone.
  • Provide close and constant attention to children and avoid distractions  while supervising in or near the water.
  • Never leave a young child unattended near water, and do not trust a child’s life to another child. Teach children to always ask permission to go near water. If a child is missing, check the water first.

FREE FIRST AID APP 

The Red Cross is offering a free Red Cross First Aid app, which helps people put expert advice for everyday emergencies at their fingertips. The app is available for smart phones and tablets and can be downloaded from the smartphone app store by searching for 'American Red Cross.'

About the American Red Cross

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org.

About the American Red Cross North Jersey Region 

The American Red Cross North Jersey Region provides programs and services throughout the counties of Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Morris, Passaic, Somerset, Sussex, Union and Warren, with a combined population of 5.7 million. The region trains and mobilizes more than 3,330 volunteers who support the delivery of services in the community. Last year, the Red CrossNorth Jersey Region responded to 494 local home fires, helping 1,130 displaced families; collected 25,420 units of blood through blood drives and Red Cross Blood Donation Centers; provided 1,877 military family case services with emergency messages, helping families find assistance and/or get counseling and referrals; and trained 60,441 individuals with life-saving skills in preparedness, CPR, AED use, first aid and aquatics. Follow the North Jersey Region on Twitter @RedCrossNorthNJ.