We’re all looking forward to the 4th of July holiday. Millions of us will watch fireworks, take a dip in a pool or enjoy a family picnic. The American Red Cross wants everyone to enjoy their holiday and offers the following safety tips.

HEAT SAFETY Temperatures are expected to soar this weekend, with high humidity adding to the discomfort.

·         Never leave children or pets in a vehicle – even for a few minutes. The inside temperature of a car can quickly reach 120 degrees.

·         Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids throughout the day. Avoid drinks with alcohol or caffeine.

·         Slow down, stay indoors and avoid strenuous exercise during the hottest part of the day.

·         Wear loose-fitting, lightweight, light-colored clothing. Avoid dark colors because they absorb the sun’s rays.

·         Check on animals frequently to ensure that they are not suffering from the heat. Make sure they have plenty of cool water and shade.

WATER SAFETY If your holiday plans include water fun, follow these tips to help stay safe:

·         Do your part, be water smart! Ensure that everyone in the family learns to swim well.

·         Adults: actively supervise children; stay within arm’s reach of young children and newer swimmers. And kids: follow the rules.

·         Don’t fool with a pool: fence it in. Enclose your pool and spa with four-sided, four-foot fencing and use self-closing, self-latching gates. 

·         Don’t just pack it; wear your U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket – always when on a boat and if in a situation beyond your skill level. Inflatable children’s toys and water wings can be fun, but they are no substitute for a life jacket and adult supervision.

·         Swim as a pair near a lifeguard’s chair - everyone, including experienced swimmers, should swim with a buddy in areas protected by lifeguards.

·         Reach or throw, don't go! Know what to do to help someone in trouble, without endangering yourself; know how and when to call 9-1-1; and know CPR.

PICNIC SAFETY Keep perishable foods in a cooler with plenty of ice or freezer gel packs. Wash your hands before preparing the food. Don’t leave food out in the hot sun. If you are going to cook on a grill, follow these steps:

·         Always supervise a barbecue grill when in use. Don’t add charcoal starter fluid when coals have already been ignited.

·         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 especially made for cooking on the grill to keep the chef safe.

FIREWORKS SAFETY The safest way to enjoy fireworks is to attend a public fireworks show put on by professionals. Stay at least 500 feet away from the show. Many states outlaw most fireworks. If you are setting fireworks off at home, follow these safety steps:

·         Never give fireworks to small children, and always follow the instructions on the packaging.

·         Keep a supply of water close by as a precaution.

·         Make sure the person lighting fireworks always wears eye protection.

·         Light only one firework at a time and never attempt to relight "a dud."

·         Store fireworks in a cool, dry place away from children and pets.

·         Never throw or point a firework toward people, animals, vehicles, structures or flammable materials.

·         Leave any area immediately where untrained amateurs are using fireworks.

DOWNLOAD RED CROSS APPSThe Red Cross Swim App promotes water safety education and helps parents and caregivers of young people learning how to swim. The app has features specifically designed for children, including a variety of kid-friendly games, videos and quizzes. The Red Cross app “Emergency” can help keep you and your loved ones safe by putting vital information in your hand for more than 35 different severe weather and emergency alerts. The Red Cross First Aid App puts instant access to information on handling the most common first aid emergencies at your fingertips. Download these apps by searching for ‘American Red Cross’ in your app store or at redcross.org/apps.