By Rachael Abney
This weekend is the Fourth of July, a time to celebrate our nation’s independence with barbeques and fireworks. With all of these outdoor activities it is important to remember some safety tips to beat the heat and keep your family and pets safe.
With the temperatures rising one of the biggest dangers is heat stroke which is the most serious form of heat injury and considered a medical emergency.
Lafayette Fire Department Captain Kent Wilson said the best cure is prevention and to make sure to stay hydrated and drink plenty of water or drinks with electrolytes. Symptoms of heat stroke are headache, dizziness, lack of sweating despite the heat, and rapid heartbeat. The risk of heat related injuries increases when the heat index rises to 90 degrees or more and the elderly are also more at risk.
If you think someone is suffering from heat stroke it is important to immediately call 911, while waiting for the paramedics to arrive begin first aid by moving the person to an air conditioned room or a shady area. Remove any unnecessary clothing and fan the person while wetting their skin with water. Ice packs can also be placed on the person’s armpits; groin, neck, and back which can help lower their core temperature.
Pets are also at risk for heat related injuries so never leave your pet in a car even with the windows down. Also make sure that outside pets have access to water and shade. No incidences of heat stroke have been reported yet in LaFayette this year, even though temperatures have approached 100 on several days.
Fireworks are a trademark of the Fourth of July but they also come with some risks. Remember to use common sense when lighting off fireworks. Alcohol and fireworks are a bad combination. When setting off fireworks make sure you are in a clear area and have a hose or fire extinguisher nearby. Keep an eye out for snakes when outdoors. Never aim any type of firework at another person.
Another hidden danger that most people regard as harmless are sparklers, which are usually given to children. Sparklers can burn up to 2000 Fahrenheit which is the equivalent to a blow torch. While celebrating, remember that not everyone wants to hear you set off fireworks past midnight and try and be respectful of your neighbors.
Most pets are frightened by fireworks so try to keep them indoors if possible. If a pet must stay outside be mindful that they may try and escape the loud noises and make sure they are secure and have a collar and license in case they do make a break for it.
By keeping in mind a few safety tips, preparing for the heat, and using common sense we can all have a safe and enjoyable holiday.