The Fourth of July holiday means different things to different people. All of us, however, should think safety first.
One principal concern is the use of fireworks, another is being careful with fire. Bon fires and outdoor grilling are great activities, but they can also lead to dangerous situations when people are careless in their actions.
Fireworks safety is paramount and no matter how many times fire officials and others talk about taking care with these materials, it isn't too much. Watch children and warn them of the dangers involved.
Swimming and boating are two other areas where a little bit of extra thought into safety, including life vests for boaters or swimming with a buddy, can go a long way toward saving lives.
Holiday driving is seemingly almost always more dangerous with more drivers on the roads, including some who are speeding, driving carelessly or have been drinking and driving.
Drivers traveling long distances, who are falling asleep behind the wheel, can be just as dangerous as drunken drivers. Remember to pull over and rest if you get tired. "Watch out for the other guy," try not to become distracted with activities inside or outside the vehicle and pay close attention to the road.
Off-road vehicle use by children should be supervised by parents and helmets should be worn by riders. Bicycle riders need to wear helmets, too, to dramatically reduce head injuries.
The holiday weekend is a time to relax, feel patriotic, reflect on this country's independence, enjoy a parade, a picnic, some great food, some outdoor recreation and some fireworks.
By taking a moment to think through activities with safety in mind, the likelihood the holiday will be marred by a tragic accident can perhaps be reduced.
Enjoy the day!