Safety Tips for Celebrating This Memorial Day
May 18, 2022
Memorial Day, which commemorates those who served our country by making the ultimate sacrifice to protect our freedom, falls on Monday, May 30th. As Memorial Day also often marks the unofficial start to the summer season, millions of Americans will be barbecuing, swimming, and hitting the road to visit family and friends.
After taking a comprehensive look at years of data, the National Safety Council (NSC) is estimating that as many as 415 individuals may die on the roads this Memorial Day weekend. Two of the largest risk factors are traveling via car, which has the highest fatality rate out of any major type of transportation, and that Memorial Day celebrations often involve the consumption of alcohol, which is one of the top contributors to preventable motor vehicle accidents. To ensure that you and your loved ones have a fun – and safe – Memorial Day holiday this year, be sure to brush up on some of the important safety tips below.
Based on data from the NSC, seatbelts alone could save as many as 164 lives this Memorial Day weekend. Wearing a seatbelt is not the only thing drivers and passengers need to remember to stay safe on the road. Here are some of the American Red Cross’s (ARC) useful tips for motor vehicle occupants:
- If you plan on drinking alcohol or being impaired in any way, designate a sober driver
- Make sure you are well-rested, alert, wear your seatbelts, observe posted speed limits, and follow the rules of the road
- Be cautious in work zones
- Do not tailgate other vehicles
- Clean your vehicle’s lights and windows, particularly before driving at night-time
- Turn your headlights on as dusk approaches or during inclement weather
- Make sure your gas tank is full. If you begin having car trouble, pull as far off the highway (or road) as possible
Driving is not the only potential danger this upcoming holiday. Millions of Americans hit the beach or pool for the first time for the season during Memorial Day weekend. Some are brand new swimmers, some may be a little out of practice, and others may have plenty of experience. Even if you have been swimming for years, it is vital to take precautions when you go into the water. Per the ARC, remember to:
- Actively supervise children. Stay within arm’s reach of children and newer, less experienced swimmers of all ages
- Follow all posted rules
- Be smart about swimming! Make sure every person in your family learns to swim well before taking them into the water
- Secure your home pool or spa. Enclose the area with a four-sided fence with self-closing, self-latching gates
- Wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life vest whenever you are on a boat or in a swimming situation above your skill level
- Swim in a pair close to the lifeguard’s chair (if there is one). Everyone, even experienced swimmers, should have a swim buddy and swim in areas protected by lifeguards
Memorial Day celebrations and grilling usually go hand-in-hand. But even something as seemingly simple as throwing a few hot dogs or hamburgers on the barbecue can lead to serious injuries and unexpected property damage. Here are some of the ARC’s tips for limiting your chances of having a grilling-related issue:
- Always supervise a barbecue grill when in use
- Never grill inside – not in the house, a camper, tent, or any other enclosed area
- Keep everyone, including pets, away from the grill
- Keep the grill in an open space, away from the house, the deck, tree branches or shrubbery, or anything else that could catch fire
- Use long-handed tools made for cooking on the grill
- Never add charcoal started fluid when the coals have already been ignited
- Follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using a grill
With a bit of careful planning and some pre-holiday preparation, Americans can enjoy the holiday with their friends and family and get home safe and sound.
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