The Fourth of July can be a fun day for the whole family. However, backyard barbecues and booming fireworks can bring a lot of danger to you or your guests. Many of these holiday mishaps are preventable if you prepare for the holiday correctly. But where can you start? Check out these tips to keep your Atlanta Independence Day fun, safe, and care-free.
Fourth of July fireworks safety
1. Find a safe place to ignite your fireworks
Fireworks are flammable, after all. So, before you break out your sparkling stash of fancy, sparkly lights, find a non-flammable surface to light your fireworks. Set off your fireworks on a concrete or metal surface, and make sure its path is clear of trees and power lines. Don’t shoot off the fireworks inside or near awnings, and make sure they have room to shoot straight up into the air – not at an angle where it could land and catch fire to your roof or someone else’s.
2. Keep your audience at a distance.
It may be tempting for your little ones or pets to come close to the bright, pretty lights on the Fourth of July. But fireworks, again, are extremely flammable (hence the term FIREworks). So, make sure that a responsible party is lighting the fireworks in a clear space and at a safe distance. If you’re lighting a firework, be sure to back away quickly when it ignites, and don’t light more than one firework at a time.
3. Wear protective clothing
If you’re in charge of the firework show this Fourth of July, it can be extremely helpful to wear protective clothing. That doesn’t mean you have to don an entire haz-mat suit. Just make sure that your eyes are protected, and any exposed skin is covered. It may be hot outside, but the sparks from a firework are hotter. So, wear something breathable, but covering. Don’t look directly into a lit firework and stay completely focused on lighting what’s in front of you.
4. Always supervise children with fireworks
Very young children should never play with fireworks. However, when your kid is a little older, who doesn’t like waving around a sparkler or two? Just make sure that they’re closely supervised while they’re lighting up your backyard or cul-de-sac. Although the sparks from these sticks may seem harmless, sparklers can burn at temperatures around 2,000⁰ F. So, set some ground rules and make sure everyone is on their best behavior.
5. Do NOT try to pick up “duds”
You may have lit a firework that sputtered and fizzled out. However, fireworks are unpredictable, and many injuries happen because of improper handling. So, if one of your fireworks is a “dud,” drop it on the ground, douse it in water, and then wait a few minutes to dispose of it properly. Do NOT throw the dud directly in the trash, and do NOT try to stomp it out. (This goes for sparklers as well.)
6. Keep a bucket of water nearby
If you’re lighting fireworks, it can be especially important to have water nearby. Have a big container of water that’s easily accessible to drop dead sparklers or dud fireworks into if needed.
7. Follow your local firework laws
Make sure to obey your local firework laws and noise ordinances for the Fourth of July. Some laws may vary by county or by city. Some laws may be in effect for a certain time period. Just make sure you know what they are for your specific area before taking on an entire arsenal of firework fun.
8. Have the right home insurance
It’s always a good idea to know which damages might be covered by your home insurance before the worst happens. But Fourth of July celebrations can pose a lot of fire risk to your home, even if you’re not the one lighting the way. So, check your home insurance policy for the different types of perils it may be able to cover. Make sure you have the right coverage and enough coverage to properly insure your home’s structure and/or your belongings should a rogue spark unluckily land on your roof or lawn.
Grilling for the Fourth of July
1. Know your grill
Make sure you know if you have a gas or charcoal grill and familiarize yourself with how to use it properly. If you have a gas grill, check your propane tank and hoses to make sure there are no leaks.
If you have a charcoal grill, make sure the rest of your fuel and your lighter fluid are a safe distance away from the grill. You don’t want something to ignite before you’ve planned for it to do so.
2. Keep the grill a safe distance from other structures and trees
Regardless of the type of grill you have, make sure you’re using the grill outside and away from your house, shed, garage, or beloved backyard tree. If your grill is located under an awning, make sure that the roof is a proper distance above the heat. Keep an eye on the grill while it’s on to make sure its flames don’t rise too high.
3. Prepare the proper tools
Before you start grilling, place all the tools you need around you before turning on the heat. This includes:
- Meat tongs
- Grill gloves/mittens
- Serving utensils
- Serving plates
- Aluminum foil
- Specialty grilling tools (brushes, basters, injectors, etc.)
NEVER leave a grill unattended. If you have forgotten something after the food is already on the flame, ask one of your guests to grab what you need and place it in a safe space near you (that’s not on the grill itself.) If all else fails, make sure that you keep a fire extinguisher or a hefty bucket of water nearby.
4. Keep away kids and pets
We know: The smell of summer barbecue is enticing to human and beast alike. But a grill is essentially an open grate full of fire. So, as a grill master, it’s your job to make sure no one gets burned. Keep children away and occupied from the grill. If you can help it, keep animals locked away or inside while the grill is on or open. A burger tastes better when enjoyed from a safe distance.
5. Handle food safely
Overall, you want to make sure that no one gets sick from your cooking (in any situation, really). So, take special care when creating your delicious outdoor meal, especially if you’re cooking for guests.
- Wash your hands before and between handling foods if you’re touching raw meat. At the very least, have moist towelettes or hand sanitizer to sanitize your hands if you can’t step away from the grill.
- Don’t use the same utensils for raw meat and cooked food.
- Cook the food thoroughly. Beef should reach an internal temperature of at least 160⁰F and chicken should reach at least 165⁰. Now is not the time to test your cooking skills with rare and medium-rare meat.
- If you’re marinating food, keep it in the fridge until it’s ready to cook.
- Do NOT thaw food in the microwave.
- Don’t let your leftovers sit out for more than two hours.
1. Prepare your car for a long trip
If you’re headed out on the road for your Fourth of July fun, make sure that your car is ready to handle the long drive. Check your tire pressure and your gas tank before you leave. Make sure you’ve had an oil change and tire rotation before you hit the road, as well as any other maintenance issues. You don’t want your trip to be stopped short on the side of the road because of a simple fix.
2. Be careful on social media
Here’s a secret: Thieves love holidays. They know that many people leave their houses unoccupied, which gives them a perfect opportunity to break into your home without anyone noticing. If you’re posting live social media updates and selfies of yourself while you’re not in your own backyard, you’ve notified any potential thieves that no one is watching your home. So, save the pictures of your summer getaway for when you get back.
3. Make your house look occupied
One of the biggest deterrents for burglars is a place that looks occupied. So, if you’re gone for a long period of time, have your mail held or forwarded. Ask a friend or neighbor to house-sit or at least keep an eye on the place while you’re away. Maybe they could mow your lawn for you so the grass doesn’t look too scruffy. Don’t give dead giveaway signs that you’re not around.
4. Keep your home secure
Before you leave, make sure all of your doors and windows are securely locked. Keep your security system armed and have a reliable contact method if your security company needs to contact you.
If you don’t have a security system, it might be worth it to look into getting one for your home. Many modern systems have remote access to lock and unlock your doors, motion activated lights, or surveillance cameras. These features can not only keep burglars at bay, but they may even help you save money on your homeowners’ insurance.
A Fourth of July weekend can be a special occasion to celebrate friends, family, and the nation. That’s why it’s important to take special care and precautions to keep the day as safe as possible. It’s also important to have the right home insurance to handle the many types of mayhem that can happen throughout the year.
Our insurance experts can help you get multiple quotes on the affordable home insurance you need, no matter the occasion. To stop missing out on great home insurance rates, just give us a call, fill out our online form, or LiveChat with a specialist today.