Stay safe on the Fourth

Published 10:00 pm Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Independence Day is one of America’s favorite holidays, for obvious reasons. But like all holidays, it should come with an extra dose of caution. Since the big day is only a week away, here are some safety tips to help you plan your festivities.

Grill safety is a big one for July 4, since many people host cookouts. Be sure to use your grill outdoors, well away from your home and deck railings, and out from under branches or overhands. Open your gas grill before lighting, and periodically remove grease or fat buildup in trays below your gas or propane grill so it cannot be ignited.

The grillmaster should also avoid loose clothing that can catch fire while he or she is tending the grill. A three-foot kid- and pet-free zone should be declared around the grill to keep the little ones and furry friends safe.

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Practice safe boating. The driver of the boat should never consume alcohol, and there should be enough life preservers on hand for everyone.

On the roads, there will be more traffic and more things to keep in mind, as well. AAA says that 41.4 million people will hit the road to take a holiday for the Independence Day weekend. That’s the most on record for the holiday — AAA began tracking holiday travel in 2000 — and 4.3 percent more than last year. AAA expects Wednesday to be the worst day, as commuters mix with holiday travelers.

If you’re out celebrating with alcohol, make sure you plan a safe ride home after the festivities. If you fail to plan, don’t turn one mistake into two — call a taxi or ride share, have a non-drinking friend take you home, or crash on a couch for the night. Any of those options is better than being involved in a drunken driving crash.

And lastly, leave the fireworks to the professionals. There will be two excellent fireworks displays happening in Suffolk. Not only is anything beyond that illegal, but also it can be dangerous to try to set off fireworks yourself.