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Celebrate July 4 safely

Kim Harris

Managing Editor

With the Fourth of July quickly approaching, it's important to know how to celebrate the annual holiday safely. From fireworks to food safety here is all residents need to know to have a happy and healthy July Fourth this year.

Outdoor activities

The Fourth of July weather forecast is calling for highs in the upper 80s as of press time so it's important to stay hydrated. Make sure pets have water and when outdoors try to stay in the shade as much as possible and avoid direct sun. Don't forget to wear sunblock and wear the appropriate clothing.

For those hiking, camping or biking this Fourth of July, always let someone know when, where and what time those activities will take place. In the event someone goes missing, first responders will know where to start looking, if they have that information.

For those taking to the community pool or with a pool in their own yard, when hosting a pool party it's important to remember to watch children when they are in or around water. Keep young children and weak swimmers within arm's reach of an adult. Make sure more experienced swimmers are with a partner every time.

According to, it's also a good idea to choose a "water watcher." When there are several adults present, choose one to be responsible for watching children in or near the water for a certain period of time, such as 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, select another adult to be the "water watcher."

Finally, avoid distractions when your child is in or around water. Drowning is often silent and can occur in less than five minutes, so it is important to give your child all of your attention. Put away those phones, books and magazines.

When swimming in open water, teach children that it is different from swimming in a pool. Be aware of situations that are unique to open water, such as limited visibility, depth, uneven surfaces, currents and undertow. These potential hazards can make swimming in open water more challenging than swimming in a pool.

Use designated swimming areas and recreational areas whenever possible. Look for posted signs about open water hazards. Also look for signs that show when lifeguards will be present

Wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket when boating or participating in other water activities. Choose a life jacket that is right for your child's weight and water activity. Weak swimmers and children who cannot swim should wear life jackets when they are in or near water.

Finally, never swim alone.

Food safety

According to the Food and Drug Administration, keeping food at proper temperatures, indoor and out, is critical in preventing the growth of foodborne bacteria. The key, the FDA said, is to never let your picnic food remain in the "Danger Zone" between 40 degrees and 140 degrees Fahrenheit for more than two hours, or one hour if outdoor temperatures are above 90 degrees.

It is also important to separate raw meats from other foods.

Separate raw meat, poultry, seafood and eggs from other foods in your grocery shopping cart, grocery bags and refrigerator and when preparing foods, use one cutting board for fresh produce and a separate one for raw meat, poultry and seafood.

Cooks should never place cooked food on a plate that previously held raw meat, poultry, seafood or eggs unless the plate has been washed in hot, soapy water.

Never reuse marinades used on raw foods unless you bring them to a boil first.


If not handled properly, barbecues and heat can be dangerous and cause injuries to children and adults, Los Angeles fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna said.

"Keep grills away from anything that can burn, such as your house, car or dry vegetation," DiGiovanna said. "Don't leave the grill unattended while it's cooking and keep children and pets away from the grill.

For those using charcoal grills, only use starter fluid designed for grills, never use gasoline and don't add lighter fluid to an already lit fire. Make sure coals are completely extinguished and cold before disposing of them.

Before using a gas grill, check the connection between the propane tank and the fuel.

"Never wear loose clothing when cooking and never barbecue indoors," DiGiovanna said.


First and foremost all fireworks are illegal in San Diego County so the best way to end a day celebrating America's Independence is to locate a professional fireworks show closest to your city.

Remember people who cause fires by using illegal fireworks will be held responsible for all suppression costs, which can run into the millions of dollars.

To report illegal fireworks in the Fallbrook area, call The Sheriff's Department can be reached at 760-451-3138.

Kim Harris can be reached by email at [email protected].


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