Declare Your Independence From Danger - Keep July 4 Safe and Fun, Insurance Information Institute Advises

Fireworks, flag flying, parades and pool parties are all part of the tradition and fun associated with the Fourth of July. To avoid injuries, the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.) urges party-goers to be cautious when taking part in any festivities.

The following tips will help you have a safe and enjoyable weekend:

GRILLING SAFETY

Each year there are about 20 deaths from carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning resulting from charcoal grills and about 400 injuries treated in emergency rooms. In addition, 500 fires occur when people use gas grills and about 20 people are injured.

  • Always inspect your fueline, burners and igniter to make sure they are in good condition.

  • Set up your grill in an open area, away from buildings and combustible materials.
  • Make sure propane gas bottle is not overfilled.
  • Keep the grill in the shade. The sun increases the pressure in the tank, which can lead to leaks.
  • Clean the grill on a regular basis to prevent grease fires.
  • Don't wear baggy clothing.
  • Keep children away from the grill.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher nearby at all times.

FIREWORKS SAFETY

In 1999, fireworks-related accidents killed 16 people and injured an estimated 8,500. Children, ages five to 14, account for 37 percent of fireworks injuries. There are 10 states that ban the use of all fireworks by consumers and 34 states including the District of Columbia allow some or all types of consumer fireworks. Attend a community fireworks display instead of having your own. But if you do use fireworks:

  • Always read and follow label directions.

  • Never light fireworks without supervision.
  • Have water and a fire extinguisher nearby.
  • Light fireworks one at a time.
  • Never aim, point or throw fireworks at another person.

DROWNING PREVENTION

In 1998 (the most recent figures available), 4,406 people drowned, including 1,003 children younger than 15 years old. Drowning remains the second leading cause of death for children ages one through 14 years. The I.I.I. advises:

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