Memorial Day weekend is the official gateway to summer! While those of us in South Florida have been enjoying summertime weather for weeks now, kids are getting out of school, vacations are beginning, days are longer, and people have more time for fun. These safety tips, compiled by Miami-Dade Fire Rescue, are a good reminder for everyone that with fun comes responsibility. Keep these suggestions with you as you roll into summer fun!
Use the grill at least 10 feet away from the house or any other structures. Keep children away from the grill and never leave the grill unattended. Never use gasoline or kerosene to light a charcoal fire. Do not pour lighter fluid on hot charcoal. This is the leading cause of grill-related burns. Never light a grill on the balcony of an apartment; it is illegal and extremely dangerous for all building occupants.
The best thing anyone can do to stay safe in and around the water is to learn to swim, especially anyone participating in boating activities. Alcohol and boating don't mix. Alcohol impairs judgment, balance, and coordination, all of which are necessary for safe boating, especially for the vessel operator. Before leaving shore, ensure that the vessel is in good working condition and all safety equipment is on board and operational, including at least one Coast Guard-approved life jacket for every passenger on the boat. Prior to any boat excursion, give a responsible person details about where you will be and how long you will be gone. In the event of an emergency, this information could be the key to finding you and bringing help to your location.
Drink plenty of cool fluids throughout the day, but avoid those that contain caffeine, alcohol or a high sugar content since they actually contribute to dehydration and make heat-related illness worse. Stay indoors in an air-conditioned place and limit your outdoor activities to the early morning or evening hours, avoiding the mid-day sun. Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing. Check frequently on the elderly, young children and others at higher risk for heat-related illnesses.
Always wear your seatbelt and make sure that all passengers do so as well. All infants and small children should be restrained in approved child safety seats. Try to do most driving during daylight hours; motorists driving under the influence are usually on the road after 9:00 p.m. If your vehicle stalls on the freeway, do your best to pull over onto the shoulder, well out of traffic lanes. Call for help and do not attempt to repair it yourself on the freeway. Always designate a safe driver that will not be drinking alcohol.