Celebrate with safety

  • Published
  • By Clifford Tebbe
  • U.S. Air Force Academy Safety Office
July 4 marks our country's 239th anniversary, a time to celebrate the founding of our nation with family, food, friends and fireworks. The fireworks displays are spectacular, excite children and sometimes wake our inner child. We're most likely familiar with the line in Francis Scott Key's "The Star-Spangled Banner" "...and the rocket's red glare, the bombs bursting in air," but that doesn't mean we should experience fireworks by setting off our own. 

Personal fireworks are illegal in Colorado Springs and at the U.S. Air Force Academy. Fireworks are essentially explosives and can be extremely dangerous. Even a sparkler can burn at 3,000 degrees. 

There are several fireworks displays scheduled locally, so whether you're traveling or staying home, here are a few safety tips to help you enjoy an injury-free Independence Day.

BBQ Safety
Mishaps can occur if safety considerations and a healthy respect for the dangers of fire are not given serious thought. What's the old adage? Learn from the mistakes of others - you can't possibly live long enough to make them all yourself. 

Two Airmen found themselves in need of skin grafts because they didn't balance their celebration with risk management. In one case, a staff sergeant soaked charcoal with gasoline. He set fire to the charcoal and was seriously burned by a burst of flame. In the other case, an airman first class was out of lighter fluid so she tried to light charcoal with newspapers. She then poured gasoline on the charcoal from a gas container. The charcoal ignited and shot flame up the stream of gas. The Airman caught fire and was still seriously injured.

Gasoline is not a suitable substitute for lighter fluid. 

Another lesson: keep your barbeque away from any structure or flammable items or materials.  Do not barbeque in your garage or other enclosed spaces.

Traffic Safety  
The Fourth of July weekend is one of the deadliest of the year. The National Safety Council predicts there will be 409 traffic-related deaths on U.S. roads during the holiday, the organization's gravest prediction since 2008. The Council also estimates that 155 lives may be saved this weekend by seatbelts.  

"Drivers always need to be vigilant, but this weekend, focus on the safety of your family," said Deborah Hersman, president and CEO of the National Safety Council. "A few precautions can help ensure a memorable weekend. Spending the holiday with family is preferable to spending time in the (emergency room)."

Visit www.visitcos.com/colorado-springs-co-july-4th-celebrations for more information on local holiday celebrations.