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Healthy Fourth

Don’t misfire this weekend

With most holidays come the inevitable safety risks, and the Fourth of July is no exception. In fact, as the Hood River Fire Department pointed out, this year could pose even greater risks than usual.

Be it with fire or water, anyone planning a party or outing this July Fourth weekend can benefit from a the following safety tips:

According to Fire Marshal Devon Wells, Oregon is facing an extreme fire season this year, and caution should be exercised when celebrating with fireworks.

In any summer outdoor activity, keep a shovel and bucket of water handy, West Side Fire Department has reminded the public for weeks now, via its prominent signboard on Tucker Road. Use the shovel and bucket to quell misfired or spent fireworks.

Fireworks should only be purchased in Oregon if they are to be used in Oregon, and an adult should always be present when using them. Label directions should be followed carefully, and fireworks should be used outdoors and away from dry grass and wooded areas.

Light one at a time and move away quickly. Do not point or throw fireworks at people, pets, cars or buildings, and keep them away from small children. Do not alter fireworks or attempt to make your own.

For more information about fireworks safety, contact Wells at 386-9458 ext. 12.

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Independence Day weekend also means busy rivers and lakes across Oregon. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is encouraging the public to practice safety while enjoying their outdoor recreation.

When boating, know the “rules of the road” and check your boat for required safety equipment. For information on Vessel Safety Checks, visit:

www.cgaux.org

Consider the size of the boat, the number of passengers and amount of extra equipment — be careful not to overload the boat. Wear your lifejacket, and leave alcohol behind. Check the weather forecast, and file a float plan with a member of your family or a friend.

Know your state laws, and visit the Coast Guard Federal Regulations governing boating at:

www.uscgboating.org/reg/reg_default.asp

When anchoring, use lines that are five to seven times the depth of the water. Be sure to use a float, and lower the anchor carefully to avoid tangles. Anchor only off the bow.

If you fall into cold water, remember not to discard clothing, which provides warmth that may assist you in fighting hypothermia. Wear a life jacket at all times when near water, and never rely on toys like inner tubes and water wings to keep you afloat.

Swim in designated areas and never alone. Reach or throw, but don’t venture into the water to help someone in trouble.

Finally, never dive into lakes and rivers, which hide rock outcrops and shallow water. Keep an eye on small children, and if you plan to have fun near or in the water, don’t drink alcohol, which accounts for over half of all drowning fatalities.

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