Summer is coming up, and with it comes one of the USA’s favorite holidays: the 4th of July. Family, fireworks, and good food mean a great time all around as everyone gets into the holiday spirit and has a good time with their loved ones.
But to keep it one of the best times of the year, it’s important to remember some essential safety tips.
Whether you’re throwing a party at your house, indulging in a low-key celebration, or attending an event away from home, make sure you consider the following safety logistics. They won’t take much time and will help ensure that you have a fun, memorable, and safe 4th of July.
How to Prepare Your Home for the 4th of July
In the lead-up to a 4th of July party, there are a few things you should do in advance. They involve protecting your home, the people at your party, and anyone who lives in your home. They also include protecting those around you!
Take the time to implement these tips, and you’ll be glad you did.
Secure Your Fence (and Your Pets)
Got pets? You’ll want to make sure your fence is secure. Or even better—set up a safe space inside your house for them.
Although humans love the 4th of July, pets don’t tend to feel the same way. Even if your visitors aren’t too much for them, the fireworks definitely will be. Between the 2nd and 4th of July, there is a 30-60% increase in missing pets because the noise spooks them, and they run.
Give your furry friends some space away from the noise and, at the very least, make sure they can’t go anywhere. If your dog is an escape artist, leash them every time you take them outside to do their business. Even if your dog is the most relaxed pup ever, a sudden noise (or worse, a stray firework entering your yard) could make them bolt.
Store Your Fireworks Safely
If you plan to set off fireworks in your yard rather than attending a public display, you should store them safely before the big event. This goes for items as small as sparklers as well.
Keep them in a cool, dry place to prevent explosive accidents and ensure that children and pets don’t have access to them. Curious hands and paws could lead to disaster.
Buy the Proper Protection
If you’re doing your own firework display, you also need to ensure you have the proper protection. Have a large container of water close by if you need to douse a firework quickly, and ensure the person in charge of lighting fireworks has hand and eye protection.
Consider Your Pool
If you have a pool in your yard, make sure that everyone who will be at the party can swim or that there’s an appropriate barrier. Young children are known for their insensible curiosity and clumsiness! At the very least, have some swim vests on hand or ensure that the parents who are coming do.
You should also keep an eye on pets. We recommend keeping them indoors on the 4th of July, but if you let them out to go potty, watch them closely and keep them away from the pool. Although we think of dogs as natural swimmers, this isn’t true of every breed, and even the best water dogs can find it hard to get out if there’s no easy exit.
Get Everyone on the Same Page
As you’re implementing these tips, ensure that all household members and guests are on the same page. You don’t need an adult handing a firework to a child or deciding safety measures are unnecessary.
8 Safety Do’s for Your 4th of July Party
It’s the 4th of July, and it’s finally party time. You’ve been working hard, and you’re ready to relax, have a drink and some great food, and enjoy your efforts paying off. While you unwind, don’t forget to follow these 4th of July safety tips.
1. Designate Someone to Keep an Eye on Things
Assigning someone the responsibility for the above tips could improve your 4th of July party by guaranteeing that nothing is missing or goes awry. If you’re worried that it will be no fun for someone to continuously ensure everyone’s safety, consider alternating safety shifts.
2. Have Sunscreen on Hand
Never forget to put sunscreen on. Nothing can ruin your day like looking down and seeing bright red shoulders and arms, knowing that later, you’ll pay the price for sitting outside all day. Your guests will also appreciate you having sunscreen around, as there’s always someone who forgets.
3. Employ Sanitary Cooking Practices
Grilling out is one of the best things about the 4th of July, but leaving food in the sun comes with the risk of bugs and food poisoning.
Make sure food is covered when no one is eating and serve it fresh. A cooler can go a long way on a hot summer day as well. We also recommend keeping paper plates around to set food down, so no one has to put their snack on a potentially dirty surface.
4. Check Your Prescription Meds
If you take prescription medicine, check the label before going off and having fun. Some prescription meds can’t mix with alcohol ( you should always follow medical instructions), and it’s a little-known fact that some medications can even make you more prone to heatstroke. Stay in the shade where you need to, and go inside if you need a break from the relentlessly hot sun.
5. Keep Children Away From Fires and Grills
If you’re grilling or have a fire going, make sure that children know to stay a safe distance away.
It can help to put up a barrier, especially as small children don’t always remember instructions (or intentionally forget). Even the most sensible child can accidentally put their hand on a hot surface or fall over in the wrong place.
6. Watch Your Pets
Even if you keep your pets tied up or indoors, dogs can suffer from heatstroke in the summer sun or get up to some boredom-inspired mischief. You’ll want to watch for unusual behaviors and ensure they aren’t fed too much human food.
While a bite of a plain hotdog isn’t going to hurt the average dog, there are other items around that could be toxic, including garlic, onion, and chocolate. You should keep these ingredients well away from your pup no matter how much they beg.
7. Provide Shade and Water
If your yard is entirely in the sun for any period of the day, offer people refuge inside or set up a shelter outside where there’s shade. Your guests may be too polite to tell you they’re burning up, so make it known where they can escape if the heat is too much.
You’ll also want to stock up on filtered water or water bottles in advance to make sure everyone can stay hydrated.
6 Safety Don’ts for Your 4th of July Party
If you do all of the above, it’ll go a long way towards keeping you, your home, and your guests safe. However, there are also some things you need to remember not to do for proper July 4th safety.
1. Don’t Point Fireworks Anywhere Except the Sky
Ensure that the person in charge of fireworks is well aware of the basic safety rules and how to handle them. The most important rule is to never point fireworks anywhere other than the sky, as you never know when they might go off. They should especially never point fireworks at people or pets, even for a second or as a joke.
2. Don’t Let Kids Near Fireworks
No matter how much your child begs to set off a firework because they think it’ll be cool, don’t let them. That’s an honor that can wait until they’re older when they understand the damage fireworks can do when handled poorly and the precautions that they need to take. Only adults who can fully comprehend the risk should handle fireworks.
3. Don’t Forego Firework Protection
As well as keeping kids away from fireworks and only pointing fireworks towards the sky, you should never decide that you don’t need protection. If you put nothing else on, make sure your eyes are covered, as there’s a significant risk to your vision when setting fireworks off. Fireworks cause over 9,000 visits to the emergency room every year, and 15% of those are eye injuries.
4. Don’t Try to Relight Dud Fireworks
If you try to ignite a firework and it’s a dud, don’t try again. The firework may ignite and explode before you can light it properly and get out of the way, which can have devastating consequences.
Dispose of dud fireworks safely by soaking them in water, getting rid of the water, and throwing the firework away.
5. Don’t Let Guests Drink and Drive
It’s easy to have one drink too many and not realize just how drunk you are, but you need to exercise caution when getting behind the wheel. Don’t drink and drive. This isn’t just important to be safe this 4th of July, but for any time.
If you’re hosting a party and notice someone’s drunk who has driven there, encourage them not to go home the same way they arrived. You can offer to let them stay at your house or call them an Uber and tell them to pick their car up later.
6. Don’t Shoot Guns in the Air
The last thing you should never do is shoot guns in the air. While this is an expression of celebration in many places in America, it’s not safe and especially dangerous in a residential neighborhood. The nature of gravity means that when bullets go up, they have to come back down, which can happen with enough force to injure or kill someone. Keep the guns away this 4th of July.
Having a Safe 4th of July Away From Home
If you’re leaving the house and going to a public display of fireworks instead, there are still a few things you should do as a homeowner to keep premises and pets safe:
- Make sure all doors and windows are locked and the house is secure.
- Don’t leave your pets outside. Make sure they’re inside and in a safe place. It’s a good idea to leave some music or a television on for them to drown out some of the firework noise.
- Consider spending some time desensitizing your pets to fireworks by playing online videos of them and slowly increasing the volume. This can help them when the time comes, as they’ll (hopefully) be used to the noise.
- Don’t leave anything outside that you don’t want to risk getting damaged. When fireworks go up, they have to come back down, and it’s often not in the same place they left.
Regardless of whether you’re staying in the house or leaving, as a homeowner, you are responsible for protecting your property and the people and pets that live in it. This is especially critical on the 4th of July, where, while it’s a fun time, many things can go wrong.
Take the time to ensure you and your family enjoy the holiday and have a fun and safe 4th of July weekend!