PRINCETON, NJ – During the long Fourth of July weekend many people will spend part of their holiday ceelebration firing up the backyard grill, traveling or enjoying one of New Jersey’s many pools and beaches. The American Red Cross is offering a series of steps everyone can follow to safely enjoy the holiday weekend.
WATER SAFETY. Many New Jerseyans 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.
Ensure everyone in your 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. For a backyard pool, have appropriate equipment, such as reaching or throwing equipment, a cell phone, life jackets and a first aid kit.
If someone plans to swim in the ocean, they should always check weather conditions before going in the water. Be aware of the danger of rip currents. If caught in one, swim parallel to the shore until out of the current. When free, turn and swim toward shore. If unable to swim to the shore, call out for help, float or tread water until free of the rip current and then head toward shore.
GRILLING SAFETY. Every year people are injured while using charcoal or gas grills. Here are several 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.
HIGHWAY SAFETY. Millions of people will be on the highways over the Fourth of July weekend. The Red Cross offers these five things everyone should do to stay safe while traveling:
- 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.
EMERGENCY APP Download the free Red Cross Emergency App to receive severe weather watches and warnings in their local area, at travel destinations and where loved ones live. “Family Safe” is a unique feature that allows app users to notify family and friends who are in an area affected by an emergency or disaster. First Aid steps for situations such as heart attacks, heat-related emergencies and water safety information are also included. The content is available in English and Spanish. The app can be downloaded from app stores by searching for “American Red Cross” or by going to redcross.org/apps.
“As everyone looks forward to a fun Fourth of July weekend, the Red Cross wants to make sure people know how to stay safe while enjoying the holiday,” said David Lewis, interim CEO, American Red Cross New Jersey Region.
The American Red Cross provides programs and services to a population of 8.8 million in New Jersey. The organization trains and mobilizes more than 5,800 volunteers who support the delivery of services throughout the state. In New Jersey last year, the Red Cross responded to 889 local disasters, mostly home fires, helping 1,820 displaced families; collected 88,439 units of blood through blood drives and Red Cross Blood Donation Centers; provided 3,920 military family case services with emergency messages, helping families find assistance and/or get counseling and referrals; and trained 117,088 individuals with life-saving skills in preparedness, CPR, AED use, first aid and aquatics. For more information, visit www.redcross.org/NJ.