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Happy Fourth of July

The attorneys and staff at Charles G. Monnett III & Associates would like to wish you and your loved ones a happy and enjoyable 4th of July. However, in order to have fun, it is important to stay safe.

For many Americans, this is a holiday spent outside with loved ones. Many choose to grill out, go to swimming pools, travel, watch fireworks and the list goes on and on. But with all of these exciting activities, there are also several precautions you should take to make sure no one gets injured.

Most 4th of July activities are held outdoors and with the recent heatwave in the Charlotte area, this can create several problems. When people are outside in high temperatures for extended periods of time, their bodies are not able to cool themselves quickly enough, and they overheat. In severe instances, people can suffer heatstroke, which can cause death or permanent disability if emergency treatment is not provided.

You can protect yourself and loved ones by following these recommendations:

  • Dress in lightweight clothing
  • Drink plenty of water. Avoid drinks with caffeine, alcohol and large amounts of sugar because they can actually dehydrate your body.
  • Limit the time you’re in direct sunlight.
  • Do not leave infants, children, people with mobility challenges and pets in a parked car, even with the window rolled down.
  • Avoid or reduce doing activities that are tiring, or take a lot of energy
  • Do outdoor activities in the cooler morning and evening hours
  • Use a sunscreen lotion with a high SPF

Symptoms of heat exhaustion include muscle cramps, weakness, dizziness, headache, nausea, and vomiting. If you see someone with signs of overheating, move the person to a cooler location, have them rest for a few minutes and then slowly drink a cool beverage. Get medical attention for them immediately if they do not feel better.

One of the many activities that Americans enjoy on the 4th of July is grilling out. However, most people fail to realize the budding dangers for serious burns and other injuries right in your back yard. The National Fire Protection Association reports that July is the peak month for grill fires.

Here are some tips to keep your cookout safe for everyone:

  • Keep grills at least 10 feet away from your home, garage, porch, and deck
  • Keep children and pets at least three feet away from the grill
  • Remove grease or fat buildup to keep your grill clean
  • Use long-handled barbecue utensils to avoid burns and splatters. Be sure the bristles on grill brushes are the proper material for your grill
  • Never leave the grill unattended
  • As an extra precaution, always keep a fire extinguisher, a bucket of sand or garden hose nearby while grilling

Since the 4th of July falls on a Wednesday this year, one may assume this will deter some people from traveling. However, with falling gas prices, it is predicted that the number of travelers on the road will reach record high numbers. With more drivers on the road, the likelihood of accidents occurring increases as well.

Here are some holiday driving tips form the North Carolina Department of Transportation:

  • Non-peak hours are the best time to travel to avoid a potential collision
  • Taking the focus away from the roadway inhibits reaction time to road conditions or other motorists. Stay attentive during holiday travel periods
  • Begin your drive when you are wide awake. Take breaks if you become tired
  • Check for alternate routes before you leave to avoid highly congested areas
  • Maintaining a safe driving speed at 60 mph where permitted can help gas mileage and save in fuel costs. Speeding saves very little in travel time
  • No drinking and driving

The final activity that completes most Americans’ 4th of July celebration is fireworks. In the 2010 Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) Annual Fireworks Report, research showed that there were an estimated 8,600 hospital injuries in 2010 and three reported deaths due to fireworks. A good rule of thumb is to just let the professionals handle the fireworks.

However, if you decide to purchase and shoot off your own fireworks, here are some tips from the CPSC to keep you and your loved ones safe:

  • Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks
  • Avoid buying fireworks that are packaged in brown paper because this is often a sign that the fireworks were made for professional displays and that they could pose a danger to consumers
  • Always have an adult supervise fireworks activities
  • Many don’t realize that young children suffer injuries from sparklers. Sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees – hot enough to melt some metals
  • Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse. Back up to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks
  • Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not ignited fully
  • Never point or throw fireworks at another person
  • Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire or mishap
  • Light fireworks one at a time, then move back quickly
  • Never carry fireworks in your pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers
  • After fireworks complete their burning, douse the spent device with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding it to prevent a trash fire
  • Make sure fireworks are legal in your area before buying or using

Hopefully, these tips will help everyone to have a happy and safe 4th of July.


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