Our Maine personal injury attorneys would like to wish you a happy and safe Fourth of July holiday weekend. We would also like to ask you to be extra cautious, no matter what your plans are, as many residents are exposed to an increased risk for accidents and injuries.Residents and visitors are more likely to experience an injury in Maine during this holiday weekend, whether you’re celebrating on the water, at the pool or lighting off fireworks. With the proper safety precautions, residents can help to keep themselves and their loved ones safe and injury-free this Independence Day weekend.
Celebrating the weekend on the water?sBe sure you follow these safety tips, provided by Discover Boating, to help keep you and other boaters safe:
-Check the weather reports before venturing out. If you’re out on a boat and you see bad weather approaching, play it safe and get to land. It is encouraged that you get off the water if you notice darkening clouds, volatile and rough changing winds or sudden drops in temperature.
-Be sure to operate at a safe speed all the time, especially in crowded areas.
-Stay away from large vessels that can be restricted in their ability to stop or turn.
-Be respectful of buoys and other navigational aids. These signals have been placed there to help ensure your boating safety.
-Make sure more than one person on board knows every aspect of your boat’s handling, operations and other boating safety tips.
-Make sure that everyone on board has a life jacket. A majority of drowning victims were the result ofsboating accidents in which passengers were found to not be wearing a life jacket.
-Never boat and drive. You’re twice as likely to be involved in a boating accident when alcohol is involved.
-Get a free vessel safety check. The US Coast Guard offers free boat examinations to verify the presence and condition of certain safety equipment required by state and federal regulations.What’s the Fourth of July without fireworks? Using fireworks is as traditional as Independence Day parades and barbecues. According to the National Council on Firework Safety, there were approximately 5,900 fireworks-related injuries during the Fourth of July season in 2009. Dr. John Steinberg, a member of the Board of Directors of the National Council on Firework Safety, suggests that everyone uses a little common sense to reduce the risks of injury this year.
The Council offers these tips to help keep residents safe this Fourth of July:
-Always supervise teens when they are using fireworks.
-Do not allow children to handle fireworks.
-Only use fireworks outdoors.
-Always have water ready. You should keep a bucket of water or a hose nearby.
-Do not drink alcohol and light off fireworks. Always have a designated lighter.
-Make sure you’re wearing safety glasses whenever lighting off fireworks.
-Do not attempt to relight a dud firework. Instead, let it sit for 20 minutes and then soak it in water.
-Do not combine or alter fireworks in any way. Only use them as instructed.
As summer provides perfect weather for outdoor celebrations, many residents will be relaxing poolside and barbecuing with family and friends, but with the pool comes great risks for injuries — and death.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 10 people die every day from unintentional drowning. Two of these deaths that occur every day occur to children that are under the age of 15. As a matter of fact, drowning is the sixth leading cause of unintentional injury death for people of all ages. It is the second leading cause of death for children ages 14 and younger.
There were nearly 3,500 fatal unintentional drownings in 2007 alone. These were non-boating related drownings. More than half of the drowning victims were taken to and treated in emergency rooms and eventually were transferred to higher levels or care of hospitalized. Many times, injuries from nonfatal drownings can be sever and life altering. A victim can suffer brain damage that may result in long-term disabilities. These disabilities can include memory problems, learning disabilities, and permanent loss of basic functioning.
The CDC offers these safety tips to help ensure everyone’s safety this holiday weekend at the pool:
-Supervise children around water at all times.
-Always use the buddy system. Never swim, or let anyone swim, alone.
-Do not use air-filled or foam toys in place of life jackets. These toys are not designed to keep swimmers safe.
-Avoid drinking alcohol before or during swimming.
-Learn cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). In the time it might take for paramedics to arrive, your CPR skills could help to save someone’s life.
Again, have a safe and fun Independence Day and remember to practice all safety tips, regardless of your weekend plans.