Everyone deserves to have a safe 4th of July. Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case, especially with fireworks going off everywhere. Homeowners associations, though, should take advantage of their position and keep residents safe by disseminating safety reminders.
How to Have a Safe 4th of July in Your HOA
Americans celebrate the Fourth of July in many ways. Some have backyard cookouts and throw pool parties, while others light up fireworks or go on vacation. Whatever the case may be, there are always risks associated with Independence Day celebrations. And, there are only so many rules a homeowners association can impose without being unreasonable.
If you want to have a danger-free celebration in your community, make sure to remind your residents of the following 4th of July safety tips.
1. Firework Safety
Fireworks may beautifully light up the night sky, but they also pose a high risk of fire. In fact, the National Fire Protection Association says that 2018 saw about 19,500 fires started by fireworks. These fires even led to five deaths, 46 civilian injuries, and over $100 million in property damage.
By far, the safest way to enjoy fireworks is to leave them in the hands of trained professionals. Your homeowners association can obtain a permit and hire a professional company to put on a show. This way, homeowners can look forward to fireworks on the night of July 4 without needing to buy fireworks themselves. Alternatively, you can compile a list of nearby firework shows in the area and encourage residents to attend one of those instead.
If homeowners insist on using fireworks themselves, remind them to employ these safety tips:
- Wear protective goggles.
- Never point a firework at a person, animal, structure, or vehicle.
- Always follow the instructions written on the firework’s packaging.
- Only light one firework at a time.
- Don’t allow children to handle fireworks.
- Keep pets indoors to prevent them from running away in a panic.
- Prepare a fire extinguisher or water supply nearby in case anything happens.
It is also a good idea to ask residents to inform their neighbors in advance if they plan to set off fireworks. In doing so, their neighbors can make the proper preparations.
2. Barbecue and Picnic Safety
The summer season is when homeowners typically fire up the grill or have a picnic outdoors. But, grills can also start fires, and anything food-related can cause a wealth of health issues. So, if you want to have a fun and safe 4th of July outdoors, make sure to tell residents to practice these safety tips.
Grill and BBQ Safety:
- Never use your grill indoors. Grills are made for use in open spaces as the smoke can be toxic to humans and animals.
- Keep the grill away from anything that can catch fire, including tree branches, outdoor furniture, and decorations.
- Never allow children to use the grill. Keep pets away from the grill as well.
- Don’t crowd the grill.
- Never leave a lit grill unattended. Close supervision should always be practiced.
- Use long-handled cooking utensils to avoid injury.
- Once the coals have been ignited, don’t add any more starter fluid.
- Have a fire extinguisher handy to put out any fires immediately.
Food Handling Safety:
- Always wash your hands with soap and water before preparing food.
- Keep perishable food in the refrigerator, freezer, or in a cooler with ice.
- Don’t leave food out under the hot sun for too long.
- If the food starts to smell bad, throw it out. Don’t risk food poisoning.
- Be mindful of food allergies.
3. Water Safety
For a lot of people, the 4th of July is the perfect time to hit the pool. In addition to sending out reminders to residents, HOAs should also post pool safety guidelines in the pool area itself. These include but are not limited to:
- Wear sunscreen, especially when swimming outdoors.
- Never leave children unsupervised.
- Children below a certain age and inexperienced swimmers should always wear lifejackets.
- For hygiene reasons, pets should not be allowed inside the pool.
- For outdoor pools, swimming should not be allowed during inclement weather.
- Never swim while under the influence of alcohol.
If your HOA has a beach or lake, additional reminders include:
- Never swim alone. Always take a companion when swimming in a large body of water.
- Only swim in the designated swimming area. Never venture too far out where the lifeguard can’t see you.
- Make sure to have sufficient energy to make the swim back to shore.
Homeowners associations should consider hiring a lifeguard to keep everyone safe. Residents should always listen to and obey the instructions of the lifeguard. Moreover, if your HOA can’t hire a lifeguard, make sure to post a sign that says, “No lifeguard on duty.”
4. Pet Safety
Independence Day isn’t fun for everyone. A lot of pets, particularly dogs and horses, are afraid of the sound of fireworks. Some are so afraid that they run away and go missing. Therefore, pet owners should follow these 4th of July pet safety tips:
- Leave pets inside the house, preferably in a room with good sound insulation.
- Keep horses and livestock in fenced areas. Make sure to check the structural integrity of the fences ahead of time.
- Never let pets near fireworks, including sparklers and smoke bombs.
- Keep pets away from the grill.
- The heat of the summer can pose a danger to pets. Make sure they don’t stay out in the sun for too long and always have a bowl of cool water prepared for them.
5. Home Safety
While many Americans prefer to celebrate the Fourth of July at home, there are also those who travel during this time. For residents who plan to leave the house this holiday, here are some safety reminders:
- Invest in a home security system.
- Consider leaving a light open to deter trespassers and thieves.
- Ask a neighbor to park their car in your driveway to give the illusion of someone being home.
- If you plan to go on an extended vacation, make sure not to leave perishable food out.
Have a Safe and Happy 4th of July
Safety should be a top priority among homeowners associations this Independence Day. But, far too many people let all the fun and enjoyment distract them from what’s truly important. Make it your HOA board’s job to send out safety reminders either through your community website, newsletter, or email ahead of the holiday. In doing so, you can facilitate a safe 4th of July celebration for your residents.
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