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Fourth of July Safety Tips

By: Allan M. Siegel

Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C. would like to wish everyone a happy, safe, and enjoyable Fourth of July. During this time of year, we are thankful to live in a country where citizens have rights and freedoms and where there are systems in place that allow the wronged and injured to obtain justice. In past blogs, we have discussed the American civil justice system and the importance of jury duty, and we want to remind our clients and local residents that these systems exist because we live in a country founded on democracy – the same country where we can actively take a stand against efforts that aim to change laws so as to put public safety at risk or limit the rights of victims.

Our firm would also like to remind everyone who plans on celebrating our nation's independence to be safe this coming holiday. Whether you and your loved ones are planning backyard pool parties, barbecues, or fun with fireworks, safety should always be a priority, and especially so if children are celebrating too.

Here are a few helpful tips to help you stay safe this Fourth of July:

  1. Firework Safety – Fireworks are a tradition on July 4th, but they are also responsible for sending an average of 230 people to the emergency room each day during the month before and after the holiday, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. While it is always best to watch shows put on by professionals, we understand that some may choose to celebrate with fireworks of their own. If you plan on using fireworks, be sure to do so safely, follow instructions, keep spectators at a safe distance, and monitor children closely. Never light fireworks indoors or in dangerous areas where they may endanger other people or property. Fireworks for personal use must often be "safe and sane" and should comply with your local laws.
  2. Be Smart Around Water – Pool parties are common on Fourth of July and it is important for everyone to stay safe when enjoying the water. Make sure children are well-supervised and that they know how to swim. Watch for diving into shallow water, excessive horseplay that can get out of hand, and running near pools. If you’re celebrating at the beach or by boating on a lake, make sure to follow all rules of safe boat operation (including avoidance of drunk boating), wear appropriate life vests when necessary, and now how to get help when it’s needed. Remember, victims of preventable drowning accidents and their families have rights when others fail to take appropriate steps to ensure safety.
  3. 3.BBQ Tips ­– If you plan on celebrating the Fourth by grilling, make sure to do so safely. Always be careful of handling propane and charcoal grills, never grill indoors, avoid wearing loose clothing and be careful when using lighter fluid to avoid preventable burn injuries. Keep children and flammable materials away from grills and never leave them unattended. Leading up to a barbecue, clean your grill and periodically remove grease so it can’t be ignited and pose risks of fires.
  4. Drink Responsibly – Alcohol is a staple for many on Fourth of July. If you plan on drinking, remember to do so responsibly and to designate a sober driver if you need to get home. Statistically, the Fourth of July weekend sees high rates of alcohol-related auto accidents. Because of this, authorities often increase their patrols and focus on DUI enforcement. Not only can drunk drivers be held criminally accountable for their actions, they can also be held financially liable for any injuries and damages suffered by victims.
  5. Driving & Roadway Safety – The Fourth of July is one of the country’s biggest holidays, which means that an increase in traffic can increase risks of car accidents. That’s due not only to drunk or impaired drivers, but also factors such as drowsy driving (for those making longer trips or vacations out of the holiday), more foot and bicycle traffic, increases in out-of-town or younger motorists, celebrations or events on and near roadways, and more. Do your part to stay safe by always obeying the rules of the road, and be sure to avoid distracted driving. On busy roads, distracted drivers are far more likely to crash than others. You can find more roadway safety tips for driving during the summer months and holidays on our blog.

Our Washington, DC personal injury lawyers wish everyone a happy Independence Day. While we hope no one is injured, we are always available to help victims and families who do suffer preventable and unexpected injuries due to the negligence of others. If you have questions about your rights after a preventable accident or injury, contact us to speak with a member of our legal team during a free consultation. We serve residents throughout Maryland, Virginia, and the DC Metro area.