Our nation's "birthday", the Fourth of July is famous for fireworks, backyard barbecue parties, and red, white, and blue desserts. Unfortunately, the Fourth of July isn't just a popular day for pulling out the grill — it's also one of the top days for serious injury or accidents due to misused fireworks, drunk drivers, and other increased risks.
We have three essential safety tips to keep in mind to help you make the most of our nation's 241st birthday.
1. Stick to Safe (and Legal) Fireworks
Most fireworks are used on one of two holidays: the Fourth of July and New Year's Eve. Wondering what fireworks are legal in South Carolina? We have a past blog post where we answered that question in detail.
Don't use illegal fireworks. They're illegal for a reason — many are dangrous for untrained people to use, especially if your grass is dry or you have lots of trees or other possible fire risks in your yard.
Setting off illegal fireworks in South Carolina could get you a visit from the police, including a ticket or even a more serious charge.
If you are utilizing legal fireworks, keep things safe by following these rules:
- Keep a full water bucket and garden hose nearby so you can douse any potential flames quickly.
- Do not attempt to combine fireworks or re-light "duds" that don't go off immediately.
- Do not allow young children to play with fireworks. Even older children should never be allowed to ignite them.
- Never point fireworks at another person.
- Never use fireworks indoors.
When you finish using fireworks, be sure to douse all of them with water before you head indoors. This is an essential step to minimize fire risk.
2. Stay Safe in the South Carolina Summer Heat
If you're throwing a party or heading out to a neighborhood barbecue, just keep some basic summer safety tips in mind, such as:
- Stay hydrated! Try to drink eight ounces of water per hour or so if you're in direct heat.
- Other drinks, like soft drinks, beer, or hard alcohol, do not count towards this total.
- Never leave a grill or backyard campfire unattended. Even a small fire can quickly get out of control on a dry day.
- Exercise caution when swimming in a crowded pool or public area like a lake.
- Never let young children swim without adult supervision.
- Apply broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15, and reapply every two hours during time spent outdoors.
You'll also need to ensure that any four-legged friends are safely inside or have a sheltered space they can hide in. The sound of fireworks can be truly frightening to cats and dogs, so you never want to leave your four-legged friends outside during loud fireworks displays!
3. Be on High Alert on the Roads
Any holiday is riskier when you're on the road — but the Fourth of July is the deadliest of them all, according to BACtrack. With increased numbers of young drivers out on summer vacation and lots of people off work and heading out to see friends, family, or community get-togethers, risks of even basic vehicle collisions increase.
The rate of impaired drivers on the roads also tends to spike during holidays, and the Fourth of July is no exception. If you consume alcohol during the Fourth of July holiday, you must ensure you are sober before you drive home. If you're not sure whether or not you're sober, odds are good you're not, so call a taxi or your favorite ride sharing app like Uber or Lyft.
Some road safety tips to keep in mind on the Fourth of July:
- Don't drink or consume any other mind-altering substances before getting behind the wheel.
- If you intend to consume alcohol, ask a friend or family member to be your Designated Driver.
- If you don't have a DD, just plan to call for an Uber or Lyft! Both run coupons routinely that save on the cost of the ride, and you'll be far safer than if you drive while under the influence.
- If you have young children, try to leave early, before the sun starts to go down, and leave yourself plenty of time to take it slow before you arrive home.
- Watching a large fireworks display at a crowded community gathering? Don't try to leave right away. You'll only end up fighting the crowd. Instead, wait until things have begun to thin out before heading home.
BNTD Law Wishes You a Happy (and Safe) Holiday!
We here at BNTD Law hope your Fourth of July holiday goes off without a hitch! If you should end up needing assistance with a car wreck, wreck involving a tractor trailer, DUI defense, or any other legal representation, BNTD Law is here to help in Columbia, SC.
Reach us by phone at (803) 779-7599 or contact us online at any time to request your FREE consultation.