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News Release Contact: Chris Davis/Marjorie Wass

Phone: (805) 687-3322

[email protected], [email protected]

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Ventura, Santa Barbara, and San Luis Obispo County Chapters

Avoid Fourth of July Visits to the Emergency Room (or Worse) — American Red Cross Offers Important Safety Tips

Santa Barbara, Ventura, and San Luis Obispo Counties, June 30, 2010— This Fourth of July, friends and loved ones across Santa Barbara County will gather to celebrate our nation’s independence and what is, for many, the unofficial start of summer. It’s a day of celebration that can often end in a trip to the emergency room and devastating accidents.  If your traditions include alcohol, fireworks, barbecues, or relaxing days at the pool or beach, the American Red Cross, Santa Barbara County Chapter offers these important safety tips so you and your family can enjoy a safer holiday.

Firework Safety

There are thousands of emergency room visits during the Fourth of July weekend because of fireworks and firecrackers. Fireworks are illegal in Santa Barbara County and should not be used. The American Red Cross, Santa Barbara County Chapter recommends enjoying a professional firework show.

Water safety at the pool and beach

Learn to swim before attempting to enter any body of water. The Red Cross has swimming courses for people all ages and a swimming ability. To find out where lessons are offered or to enroll in a CPR/AED or first aid course, contact the American Red Cross, Santa Barbara County Chapter.  To be safe around water this Fourth of July, follow these tips:

  • Swim in a supervised, marked area with a lifeguard present.  Never swim alone.
  • Enter the water feet first. Enter the water headfirst only when the area is clearly marked for diving and has no obstructions.
  • Adults should never leave a child unobserved around water.
  • Take frequent breaks (about once an hour) where everyone gets out of the water, drinks water, reapplies sunscreen (SPF 15 or higher) and rests.
  • If you are caught in a rip current, swim parallel to the shore until you are out of the current. Once you are free, turn and swim toward shore. If you can’t swim to the shore, float or tread water until you are free of the rip current and then head toward shore.
  • Watch out for the “dangerous too’s” –too tired, too cold, too far from safety, too much sun, too much strenuous activity.
  • Post CPR instructions and directions to call 9-1-1 or your local emergency number in the pool area.
  • Keep toys away from the pool when it is not in use. Toys can attract young children into the pool.
  • If a child is missing, check the pool first. Go to the edge of the pool and scan the entire pool, bottom, and surface, as well as the surrounding pool area.

Safe Grilling

Nothing says summer quite like the smell of barbecue. Make sure safety is a key ingredient in your Fourth of July by reading the following tips for safer grilling:

  • Use gas and charcoal barbecue grills outside only.
  • Position grills far from siding, deck railings, overhanging branches and house eaves.
  • Keep children and pets at least three feet away from the grill area.
  • Never add charcoal starter fluid when coals have already been ignited.
  • Always supervise a barbecue grill when in use.

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and counsels victims of disasters; provides nearly half of the nation’s blood supply; teaches lifesaving skills; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization – not a government agency – and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its humanitarian mission.  Locally, the American Red Cross, Santa Barbara County Chapter provided services to more than 30,000 people in Santa Barbara County and distributed disaster preparedness and health and safety materials to over 13,900 school children, seniors and community members.  For more information, please contact the American Red Cross, Santa Barbara County Chapter at 687-1331 in Santa Barbara or 928-0778 in Santa Maria.  Now, find the Red Cross on Twitter @SBRedCross!

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