Fourth of July safety is important

Monday is Independence Day, the holiday associated with parades, cookouts, fireworks and parties! But Fourth of July safety is important, too.

It can also be a pretty dangerous holiday: heat stroke, burns, and other holiday-related injuries, among other things. Here are some common causes of injuries that can happen this holiday weekend, followed by tips to avoid them.

For the record, Educators locations are open for usual hours on Saturday. All locations are closed on Monday for the holiday and will re-open for regular hours on Tuesday.

Drunk driving accidents

How to avoid it — Don’t do it. Don’t let your friends do it. Don’t let people at the parties you attend do it. If you’re going to drink, designate a sober driver before everyone starts to drink.

If you see a vehicle you think may be driven by someone who is intoxicated, keep your distance, note the license plate and direction and call 911.

Many police agencies do drunk driving enforcement during holiday weekends. And those campaigns are set for good reason; the 4th of July holiday often sees a spike in drunk driving arrests, charges, accidents and fatalities on Wisconsin roads.

Heatstroke

How to avoid it — Stay hydrated, wear loose-fitting clothing, don’t exercise during the hottest part of the day and wear sunscreen.

Weather is forecast to be just perfect for this holiday weekend (fingers crossed), with little to no rain and temps in the mid-70s to mid-80s for highs. That means heatstroke may not be as big a concern as it has in past years, but it definitely is still something to be aware of, especially in small children, the elderly and anyone taking prescription drugs that can affect the body’s ability to stay hydrated.

Fireworks injuries

How to avoid — Follow local fireworks laws, only set off fireworks when you’re sober and alert, avoid any overhead obstructions like porches or tree branches, wear safety glasses and don’t allow anyone to aim, point or throw fireworks at another person.

Fireworks can also cause some other issues — for veterans, especially those dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder, and for the family dog.

Fireworks and veterans

This one is tricky, because veterans, especially combat veterans, aren’t likely to ask for help. However, the sound of fireworks can be triggering for veterans, and especially so if they are among the 80 percent of combat vets dealing with PTSD. If you know you have a neighbor who is a veteran, and may be dealing with PTSD, there are some steps to take to help him or her.

First, you could refrain from lighting off your own and view public fireworks displays. If you have to light them off, be sure to let your neighbors know when you plan to do it. Plan your location and keep the amount of fireworks to a minimum.

Also, don’t set them off at unexpected times of day or night. If your veteran neighbor knows you plan to light off fireworks from 9:45 to 10 pm, he or she can mentally prepare and be ready for the noises. If you are lighting them off randomly during the day or the middle of the night, it can be very disturbing.

Fireworks and your dog

It’s a little too late for this year, but desensitizing dogs to random and/or loud noises is a good idea. But for this holiday weekend, a key thing to keep in mind is to not correct or coddle a dog when it’s fearful or anxious. Distract your pooch with toys and/or treats or work on training, then reward calm behavior.

This blog offers a few additional tips on getting through this year’s fireworks season, as well as desensitizing a dog to noises for the future.

Keep these important Fourth of July safety tips in mind and have a happy and safe Independence Day

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