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Decorations for Southport's 4th of July celebrations. (Photo: WWAY)

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — This Fourth of July, many people will be traveling, firing up the backyard grill or enjoying fireworks, and the American Red Cross offers a series of steps everyone can follow to safely enjoy the holiday weekend.

“Everyone looks forward to having fun over the summer, including us at the Red Cross here in Eastern North Carolina. We just want to make sure people know how to stay safe while enjoying the holiday,” said Barry Porter, regional CEO of the Red Cross in Eastern NC.

HIGHWAY SAFETY  Millions of people will be on the highways over the Fourth of July weekend. The Red Cross offers these five things everyone should do to stay safe while traveling:

  1. Buckle seat belts, observe speed limits.
  2. Do not drink and drive.
  3. Pay full attention to the road – don’t use a cell phone to call or text.
  4. Use caution in work zones.
  5. Clean the vehicle’s lights and windows to help the driver see, especially at night. Turn the headlights on as dusk approaches, or during inclement weather.

FIREWORKS SAFETY — The best way to enjoy fireworks is to attend a public fireworks show put on by professionals. Here are five safety steps for people setting fireworks off at home:

  1. Never give fireworks to small children, and always follow the instructions on the packaging.
  2. Keep a supply of water close by as a precaution.
  3. Make sure the person lighting fireworks always wears eye protection.
  4. Light only one firework at a time and never attempt to relight “a dud.”
  5. Never throw or point a firework toward people, animals, vehicles, structures or flammable materials.

 GRILLING SAFETY Every year people are injured while using charcoal or gas grills. Here are several steps to safely cook up treats for the backyard barbecue:

  1. Always supervise a barbecue grill when in use.
  2. Never grill indoors – not in the house, camper, tent, or any enclosed area.
  3. Make sure everyone, including the pets, stays away from the grill.
  4. Keep the grill out in the open, away from the house, the deck, tree branches, or anything that could catch fire.
  5. Use the long-handled tools especially made for cooking on the grill to keep the chef safe.
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