Summer may have officially arrived a few days ago, but the heat has been sizzling here in Las Vegas for weeks. However, those triple-digit temperatures won’t stop many of us from firing up the grills and spending time outside to celebrate our nation’s birthday next week. To ensure your 4th of July stays fun – here are some safety tips to keep in mind, as you get ready to party.
Say it with me: sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen. It can take as little as 15 minutes for the sun’s rays to burn your skin. Make sure to use sunscreen with at least SPF 15 and UVA and UVB protection at least 30 minutes before you and your loved ones go outside. Not sure how much is enough? Think of a shot glass – it holds 1 ounce of liquid. That’s how much sunscreen medical professionals recommend applying to your entire body. And they say you should reapply that same amount every 2 hours. The sun’s rays are the strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., so if you can, try to limit long periods of time outdoors during those hours. Keep in mind though that sunscreen is only one level of protection. Don’t hesitate to break out wide-brimmed hats, sunglasses and other protective clothing and accessories. And don’t skimp on the water – make sure to drink plenty of it to stay hydrated.
The barbecue is a staple of summer. Because let’s face it – no summer gathering is really complete without some good eats from the grill. But make sure you keep safety in mind before heating up the coals. According to the National Fire Protection Agency, July is the peak month for grill fires. Remember: propane and charcoal grills should always be used outdoors – never inside a home or garage. Never leave your grill unattended. The NFPA recommends keeping children and pets at least three feet away from the grill area and make sure the grill is set up away from the home, railings, and any low hanging branches. And keep it clean – remove grease or fat buildup from the grill itself and in trays below the grill.
In addition to avoiding grill fires, you want to make sure those tasty meals are cooked thoroughly and the rest of the items on your menu are stored properly. The last thing you want is for you or one of your guests to get sick. FoodSafety.gov created this info graphic to highlight the key things to remember for a food safe gathering:
Fireworks are iconic of the Fourth of July. While cities across the nation host community fireworks displays, thousands of private citizens buy fireworks to set off in their neighborhood streets or backyards. Locally, vendor stands are popping up all over the valley selling sparklers and consumer fireworks. If you’re planning on using them, you need to know the risks and be ready to take the proper precautions. According to the NFPA, thousands of fireworks-related injuries occur each year. Sparklers account for one quarter of those injuries. Sparklers burn hot enough to cause third degree burns. To give you some perspective, glass melts at 900 degrees Fahrenheit and sparklers burn 300 degrees hotter than that – at 1200 degrees. The National Council on Fireworks Safety advises that people know their fireworks before igniting them. That includes reading all cautionary labels and descriptions on the packaging. Never let children handle fireworks. Only a responsible adult should supervise the firework activities. Use them outside in an open area and steer clear from buildings and vehicles. Light one firework at a time and then quickly move away. Always have a connected hose, bucket of water or some source of water nearby. And never relight a “dud” firework. The Council advises to wait 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water before discarding it.
If you really want to play it safe, leave the fireworks to the professionals and go see a public show. Click here for a list of some of the places you can watch fireworks around the Las Vegas Valley. Happy 4th of July!