Are you gearing up for the Fourth of July holiday? If you’re like most Americans, Independence Day means time with family, a cookout, and maybe some extra time off work. Here to help make sure that your holiday is happy and safe is the Better Business Bureau’s Bob Manista.
1. Some folks will use the holiday to take a little vacation time. What should we know before we head out?
n If you’re taking a road trip, make sure to have your vehicle checked by a trusted mechanic. Independence Day is one of the prime times for breakdowns and accidents. Make sure the car at the side of the road isn’t yours.
n If you’re leaving home for a few days, make sure it’s secured and that a neighbor knows you’ll be gone and when you should return.
n With the weather we’ve been having, giving the lawn a good soak is a great idea. You’d be amazed how fast it can turn brown in this heat.
2. We mentioned that part of a July 4th holiday is the traditional BBQ. Any tips?
n Most of us have used the grill at least a few times by now, but whether this is the first or fiftieth time you’ve fired up, it’s a good time to check things out. If you’re running propane, tighten the connections and check your valves. You can pick up a tune up kit for your grill for under 20 bucks at most retailers. Besides insuring your safety, it can make sure the grill lights and everybody has a hot hot dog this 4th. No matter what kind of grill you have, you should make sure there’s a safe zone around it where the only fire is where you want it to be.
n No matter how good a cook you are, keep a bucket of water handy. You don’t want to be searching for the hose when there’s an emergency.
n We’ve been having some hot weather. It’s even hotter in front of the grill. Make sure to stay hydrated, and not with beer.
3. Speaking of drinking, almost every year, there’s an accident related to mishandling fireworks, and they often involve drinking. People are going to shoot off fireworks. How do you do it safely?
n No firecracker in the world is completely safe. Treat them with the respect they deserve, and pay attention to the law. There are reasons fireworks are illegal in some cities. Don’t tempt the cops. Nothing ruins a holiday like having your fireworks confiscated and maybe a ticket to boot.
n If you’re going to shoot some fireworks, have a designated shooter. If you’re too drunk to light the fuse, you’re probably too drunk to handle an M80. Don’t.
n Make sure you’re using a safe area for the firing range. Water the lawn. Remember that bucket of water from the BBQ? Keep it handy when you’re shooting off fireworks, too. And don’t approach a dud for at least 20 minutes.