4th of July Safety Checklist from Stillman & Friedland

Jay Stillman

4 min read

Is there anything that says “American Summer” like a 4th of July celebration? Keep it fun and safe with our checklist for the best 4th of July you, your family and your pets can have. This year July 4th falls on a Thursday, which means that a lot of folks will be celebrating through the weekend. That means we will all need to be extra vigilant.

Our Tennessee Highway Patrol (THP) is getting a big jump on safety ahead of the holiday. As of July 1st it will be illegal to drive with a cell phone in hand. Check out the Hands Free Tennessee campaign. We hope that this new law will reduce the distracted driving accident rate for Tennesseans. With that in mind, browse through this post and plan for the long weekend, then kick back and relax.

• If you want to drink, don’t drive, and don’t drive with a drunk driver! This year it’s easier than ever with NHTSA’s free app to get a ride home whether with friends or by taxi. SaferRide pinpoints your location and helps you call a ride so you get home safely. Remember, law enforcement will be out patrolling under the motto “Be Sober or Get Pulled Over.” The NHTSA has this alert for all Americans:

The days around the July 4th holiday are some of the deadliest on our roads due to drunk drivers. Over the 2016 Fourth of July holiday (6 p.m. July 2 to 5:59 a.m. July 6), 188 people were killed in crashes involving drunk drivers—a 29-percent increase from 2015. That’s why law enforcement in many communities will be participating in the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over enforcement campaign. From June 29 through July 5, participating law enforcement agencies will be making a special effort to arrest drunk drivers.

• Notice that drunk driving rates are elevated for several days. Minimize your road time during the evenings when drunk driving rates spike and be vigilant

Here are the links to download the SaferRide app:

Fireworks are awesome! But leave them to the pros. Sure, doing it yourself seems like a fun idea, but let’s be honest, guys.  The professional displays are much more impressive, and you won’t look so cool if you burn yourself or set the deck and the house on fire.  Commercially produced fireworks, especially if made in China, may come without consumer liability. There are also a lot of illegal items on sale, without any safety approval or liability at all. Set any of these off and there may be no one you can sue if you or others get injured.  Even worse, you may be liable for damages if you set them off and someone else is injured.

Here is another important tip: Sparklers are NOT a safe, small fireworks option for kids or adults. They get fiery hot and can burn hands and whatever they fall on when dropped. If you want to use sparklers, use them as cake toppers and let everyone enjoy without holding them.

Food safety: As Stillman and Friedland have noted often in our summertime blogs, make sure you play it safe when serving food in hot weather.  As always, keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold. Cool foods and beverages separately if you are using coolers.  The reason? Keeping food in a closed cooler will keep it cool.  Sealed beverages can sit in an open cooler for easy access. Grilling out? Keep meats chilled until you are ready to get them over the coals.  Thinner burgers will cook through quickly—if you want thicker burgers, use a meat thermometer to make sure they are fully cooked.  The same is true if you are grilling whole chicken parts.  Always store meats at the bottom of the fridge to keep uncooked juices from dripping on other foods.  If you are serving salads and cut fruit, keep them iced.

Pet safety: Fireworks are entertaining for humans, but scary and possibly dangerous for pets.  Do not take pets to fireworks displays.  Sadly, there are people who feel it is “fun” to throw firecrackers at pets. It is best to keep pets in a quiet room when fireworks are being used.  Other factors such as drunk driving mean it is safest to keep your best friends safe and calm indoors on and around the 4th. Always give pet-appropriate snacks, not hot dogs or other leftover food. Here is a great video with tips for pet owners:

4th of July Pet Safety Tips

• The 4th of July is more than a reason to barbeque! The Declaration of Independence was adopted by the Continental Congress on July 4th, 1776. Looking to have a meaningful holiday with the kids? Learn a little history and have a lot of fun with kid-friendly info and activities here.

Stillman and Friedland wish you and yours a meaningful, happy, fun and SAFE 4th of July,

Because we care…