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11 Safety Tips for the 4th of July Weekend

We can't wait for the 4th of July! Going up to cabins on the lake, making s'mores around a campfire, boating with friends and family, and finishing the night off with a fireworks display. It's one of the best weekends of the year. But a great weekend can quickly turn sour when a child is rushed to the emergency room after a firework accident, or a friend is convicted of BUI (Boating Under the Influence). Here are some tips to help you and your family stay safe this 4th of July weekend.

Lighting fireworks is an exciting way to celebrate our country's independence, but when safety is ignored, fireworks can cause dangerous burns and eye injuries. It goes without saying that fireworks should never be aimed at people, pets or buildings. But sometimes fireworks fly out of control, and our aim can only help so much. It is always good to be prepared in case of an emergency. Here are a few tips to ensure safety around fireworks:

1. Keep water nearby in case of an emergency.

2. Don't let children handle fireworks alone or at all. Always have adult supervision.

3. Light only one device at a time, and keep a safe distance after lighting.

4. Do NOT try to relight fireworks that appear to be "duds", and have yet to go off.

5. Keep lit cigarettes and cigars away from fireworks.

6. BE ESPECIALLY CAREFUL WITH SPARKLERS. Sparklers are often seen as a less extreme firework and parents tend to think they are safer for children. Parents need to know that sparklers can heat up to 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Parents should supervise extremely closely if they allow their children to play with sparklers.

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Another safety and legal hazard that could arise on your 4th of July weekend is the danger posed by BUI (Boating Under the Influence). Coming across someone on another boat who is intoxicated makes sharing the lake unsafe. In many ways, getting a BUI is extremely similar to getting a DUI. Here's what you need to know about BUI Laws:

  1. If your Blood Alcohol Concentration is above .08, you are operating your boat illegally, and can be charged with a BUI.
  2. The penalties for boating while intoxicated can be just as harsh as the penalties for driving a motor vehicle under the influence.
  3. It is important to know that boating under the influence is the cause of about 34% of fatal boat accidents per year.
  4. You can get a BUI if the driver is operating a boat with a motor. Kayaks, rowboats, and canoes are sometimes exempt.
  5. Legal consequences for a first time BUI can include heavy fines, loss of boating privileges, and even jail time.

Don't mix excessive alcohol use with boating, fireworks (and of course, driving your car). Be smart! Following these tips can help you and your family stay safe over the holiday, but as always, life is unpredictable. Milavetz, Gallop & Milavetz is here to help if you or a loved one has been injured. Contact us today at 763-560-0000 or toll free at 800-365-6666.

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