Have a safe Fourth of July
As Independence Day arrives and swimming season is in full swing, officials are offering tips for fireworks and water safety.
State Fire Marshal Brian S. Geraci is encouraging Marylanders to enjoy fireworks safely by attending one of the many approved public displays.
Leave fireworks to the professionals, he said in a press conference Monday. Check the Maryland state fire marshal website at www.mdsp. org/firemarshal for listed public fireworks displays throughout the state. In Queen Anne’s County, fireworks are planned for June 30 at Kent Narrows and on July 2 in Centreville. If you plan to buy and use fireworks: • Purchase the fireworks in the location where you intend to discharge them. Check with the local municipality to determine what fireworks are considered legal for use in that area. • Read and follow label warnings and instructions. • Do not allow small children to use fireworks. • Do not consume alcoholic beverages while using fireworks. • Have a bucket of water or hose available. • Fully extinguish remains of fireworks in water before disposal. Already this year, a professional fireworks shooter in sustained the partial amputation of his left ring finger in Harford County when the firework he was lighting discharged at an incorrect angle.
“Fireworks have been a long tradition of the 4th of July holiday celebrations. Please make safety your No. 1 priority so everyone can enjoy the holiday season,” Geraci added. “By acting responsibly, we can help eliminate fireworks injuries in Maryland.”
For those who plan to swim at the beach, local waterways or in pools, statistics show drowning is among the leading causes of death for children.
On average, 10 people in the U.S. die every day from unintentional drowning — 20 percent of them are children 14 or younger, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
A Red Cross survey found that while 80 percent of Americans said they could swim, only 56 percent of them could perform all five of the basic skills needed to save their lives in the water.
These water safety skills include the ability to: step or jump into the water over your head; return to the surface and float or tread water for one minute; turn around in a complete circle and find an exit; swim 25 yards to the exit; and exit from the water. In a pool, you must be able to exit without a ladder.
Only four out of 10 parents of children ages 4 to 17 reported their child could perform all five basic swimming skills, yet 92 percent said their child is likely to participate in water activities this summer. The Red Cross offers these water safety tips: • Learn to swim and only swim in designated areas supervised by lifeguards. • Always swim with a buddy; do not allow anyone to swim alone. • Have young children or inexperienced swimmers wear U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets around water, but do not rely on life jackets alone.
• For a backyard pool, have appropriate equipment, such as reaching or throwing equipment, a cellphone, life jackets, and a first aid kit.
• Never leave a young child unattended near water, and do not trust a child’s life to another child. Teach children to always ask permission to go near water. If a child is missing, check the water first.