Soldiers urged to stay safe over Independence Day weekend

Friday, July 4, 2014 - 10:02pm

Army leadership urges all Soldiers, family members and Army civilians to incorporate safety into their 4th of July celebrations in order to minimize any unwanted incidents during America's birthday celebration.

"As you make your plans, remember to account for hazards that can ruin your fun by keeping safety foremost in mind. Accidental drownings and falls, along with motorcycle mishaps, have hit our Army hard this fiscal year," wrote Brig. Gen. Timothy J. Edens, commander, Army Combat Readiness/Safety Center and Command Sgt. Maj. Leeford C. Cain in a recently released Independence Day 2014 safety statement.

Soldiers and their families can stay safe this 4th of July, and during the summer months, by adhering to some safety tips provided by the American Red Cross.

The increased traffic flow due to holiday travels makes highway safety that much more vital. The Red Cross advises travelers to:

-- Buckle seat belts and observe the speed limit.
-- Do not drink and drive.
-- Pay full attention to the road, and don't use a cell phone to call or text.
-- Use caution in work zones.
-- Clean the vehicle's lights and windows to help the driver see, especially at night. Turn the headlights on as dusk approaches, or during inclement weather.

Aside from being safe on land, a Red Cross survey found that eight out of ten Americans are planning water activities as part of their festivities. To stay safe during activities on the water, the Red Cross recommends:

-- 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.
-- Provide close and constant attention for children and inexperienced swimmers you are supervising when they are in or near the water. Avoid distractions while supervising.
-- Teach children to always ask permission to go near water. If a child is missing, check the water first.

Approximately 240 Americans are sent to the emergency room each day with firework related injuries in the month around Independence Day. Some 36 percent of those injuries affect the hands and fingers and 22 percent occur on the head, face, and ears.

To stay safe with fireworks, the Red Cross recommends:

-- 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 those lighting fireworks always wear eye protection.
-- Light only one firework at a time and never attempt to relight "a dud."
-- Never throw or point a firework toward people, animals, vehicles, structures, or flammable materials.

As always, stay hydrated and limit the amount of direct sunlight between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.

(For more ARNEWS stories, visit www.army.mil/ARNEWS, or Facebook at www.facebook.com/ArmyNewsService)   

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