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An Independence Day to remember

At the mention of Fourth of July I begin to anticipate barbecue, fresh corn, the gathering of family and friends and of course fireworks. It shouldn’t bring to mind tragic accidents but year after year, we report on accidents that could have been avoided and shouldn’t have happened. You can prevent many tragedies and ensure your celebration is a happy one by following some simple safety guidelines:

If you drink, don’t drive. Call a cab, a friend, have a designated driver or just stay put. You don’t need to get anywhere so badly that you put yourself and others in danger. Same thing goes for boating, 4-wheeling, bike riding and even horseback riding. If you drink do yourself and others a favor and “just say no.”

Swim smartly. Always swim with a buddy, and consider hiring a lifeguard if you’ll be hosting a pool party and cannot keep a watchful eye on guests in the pool. Adults also should not swim intoxicated, as it can impede the ability to stay afloat and may lead to risky behaviors.

Fireworks are beautiful but also dangerous and need to be supervised at all times. Sparklers seem harmless but did you know that they can burn at up to 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit? That’s hot enough to catch a little one’s clothes on fire, burn toes or singe fingers. Be observant and keep water handy just in case something goes awry.

If you hold a barbecue be sure you keep your food safe by observing this simple rule – keep cold foods cold and hot foods hot. No one wants a dose of salmonella with their potato salad.

Always maintain safe practices when grilling. Propane and charcoal grills should only be used outdoors. Keep the grill well away from your home, decks and out from under tree branches. Never add charcoal fluid or flammable liquids to the fire.

Don’t forget your four-legged friends when it comes to safety as Fourth of July can be traumatic for pets not accustomed to fireworks and other loud noises or crowds. If you don’t know how your pet will react consider a conversation with your veterinarian for some professional advice. Behavior therapy or medication can go a long way to alleviate stress and anxiety for your pet.

Our hope is for a safe and happy celebration for all this Fourth of July. Following a few safety tips will help to ensure a celebration that leaves you, and us, with great memories to enjoy for years to come.

Betty J. Ramsey is publisher for The Kenbridge-Victoria Dispatch and Farmville Newsmedia LLC. Her email address is Betty.Ramsey@ KVDispatch.com.