Holidays, Fireworks, and Safety


The Polar Vortex is finally behind us, summer is here, and the long Fourth of July Weekend has arrived. Many of us look forward to the holiday for patriotic reasons, while others use it as an excuse to get together with friends and family, and still others simply welcome any excuse to party in good weather.

No matter how you celebrate, it is essential to be smart, safe, and aware.

Here are a few potential dangers to avoid or rethink:


It is understood that fireworks are dangerous. They are also illegal in most places, for good reason. Still, many people like to see things explode. If you do this yourself, please be aware that you are working with dangerous elements and you can harm yourself, others, or property, even with proper precaution. Think twice before deciding this is something you have to do yourself.

Municipal events take the risk and law breaking out of your hands, and offer a better alternative.


Many households have trampolines in the yard. Often, they become a magnet for local children. Who doesn't love to jump on a trampoline?

The problem is that, even properly supervised, backyard trampolines are simply one of the most dangerous implements a homeowner could have on his or her property. Worse, yet, liability insurance often will not cover injuries or damages in many circumstances. Many insurers will refuse to cover trampolines at all.

If you own a home, there is no logical way to justify having a trampoline in your yard.

If you have children who have access to a trampoline, it really is an incredibly bad idea to allow your child to play on it. The list of injuries, some quite serious, continues to grow annually. There is no safe home trampoline.


Dogs are not necessarily dangerous. However, dogs that are around crowds of inebriated people in the heat can be unpredictable. Be alert and aware, especially when around an unfamiliar dog.

Understand that dog owners are generally liable automatically for any unprovoked attack of a person pursuant to the Animal Control Act. There are several other avenues for dog owners (or those in control of them) to be liable for damages and injuries caused by dogs.

Again, if you have homeowner's insurance, make certain your policy covers your particular dog and breed. Always be alert and cautious of all dogs.


Many people love to "catch some rays." Catching those rays can cause skin damage (and cancer), and also lead to heatstroke, sun poisoning, and other unpleasant things.

All of us should wear sunscreen. It should protect against both A and B type Ultraviolet rays and should be reapplied at least every 30 minutes or so. For children, this is even more significant, as sun damage is much more likely to occur on younger skin.


Riding a bicycle is a generally healthy and safe activity. However, keep in mind that on crowded roads, with distracted and/or intoxicated drivers, it can be very dangerous.

If you ride, be alert and aware of your surroundings, use hand signals to alert vehicles as to whether you are turning, slowing, or stopping. Keep your eyes on the road, so you can avoid obstacles. Wear sunscreen and definitely wear a helmet. Carry emergency supplies with you, such as some cash, a credit card, a cell phone, a spare tire, and extra food, fluid, and sunscreen. Enjoy your ride.


Water is important to drink. Stay hydrated. If you are drinking alcohol, make sure to drink plenty of water to counteract some of the dehydration caused by the alcohol.

The other type of water can be dangerous, however, when we think about swimming pools, lakes, or beaches.

If you do not know how to swim, do not go near the water or into a boat. If you do know how to swim, follow all safety measures. This is essential if you are in a crowded environment and/or there are children involved. Drowning can result in death in less than a minute, so be aware of your surroundings and keep all in your party accounted for at all times.

If you operate a boat of any kind, do not drink, and follow all proper safety measures and require your guests to do so, as well.


Fourth of July is a large party for many people. Sometimes drinking is limited to their own home and no driving is necessary. In those cases, the ravages of a bad hangover seem to be the worst danger to fear.

Keep in mind, however, that even something as simple as operating a barbecue grill or boat while intoxicated can be catastrophic, to say nothing of a car or truck.

Be alert and aware of others on the road who may be intoxicated or inebriated. Obviously, do not drink and drive. If you are anywhere near water, do not drink.