Red Cross offers tips for a safe 4th of July


If swimming in Puget Sound or local lakes is part of someone’s holiday plans, they should check the weather and water conditions beforehand and throughout the day, look for a lifeguard-protected beach or designated swimming area and obey all safety rules. Avoid alcohol before and during any water activities and make sure to never swim alone.

Other tips to keep in mind:

Actively supervise children at all times – even if a lifeguard is present. Stay within arm’s reach of young children when they are in the water.

Have weak swimmers wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket. Don’t rely on water wings or inflatable toys.

Always enter shallow water feet first. Dive only in areas marked safe for diving.


Be aware of currents and remember the following:

Notice the direction the water’s current is moving and how far from entry point you have moved.

Stay close to shore.

If someone is being pulled by the current and cannot swim to the shore, they should shout for help.

Stay at least 100 feet away from piers and jetties. Permanent rip currents often exist near these structures.

Watch for danger of hypothermia.


Everyone should limit the amount of direct sunlight they receive between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., and apply broad-spectrum sunscreen with a protection factor of at least 15 throughout the day. Drink plenty of water and avoid drinks with alcohol or caffeine in them. Wear sunglasses that will absorb UV sunlight to protect one’s eyes. And remember to protect one’s feet by wearing some kind of beach shoes.


Never give fireworks to small children and always follow the instructions on the packaging.

Keep a supply of water close by as a precaution.

Make sure the person lighting fireworks always wears eye protection.

Light only one firework at a time and never attempt to relight "a dud."

Store fireworks in a cool, dry place away from children and pets.

Never throw or point fireworks toward people, animals, vehicles, structures or flammable materials.

Stay at least 500 feet away from professional fireworks displays.

Leave any area immediately where untrained amateurs are using fireworks.


Always watch the barbecue grill when in use.

Never grill indoors – not in a house, camper, tent or any enclosed area.

Make sure children and pets stay away from the grill.

Keep the grill out in the open, away from the house, the deck, tree branches or anything that could catch fire.

Use the long-handled tools especially made for cooking on the grill to keep the chef safe.

Never add charcoal starter fluid when coals have already been ignited.

Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using grills.

We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.

Read the Oct 21
Green Edition

Browse the print edition page by page, including stories and ads.

Browse the archives.

Friends to Follow

View All Updates