Happy Independence Day!

Here in Montana, the 4th of July always seems to represent the start of summer. After a rainy June in Gallatin County, it’s time for fun in the sun and celebrations with friends and family. Along with the celebration—and with fireworks—there are some safety issues to consider in order to make sure that the weekend is as safe as it is enjoyable.

Firework Safety Tips

Here are some tips for safely using fireworks, from U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

  • Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks
  • Avoid buying fireworks that are packaged in brown paper because this is often a sign that the fireworks were made for professional displays and that they could pose a danger to consumers.
  • Always have an adult supervise fireworks activities. Parents don’t realize that young children suffer injuries from sparklers. Sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees, hot enough to melt some metals.
  • Never place any part of the body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse. Back up to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks.
  • Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not ignited fully.
  • Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
  • Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose hand in case of fire or other mishap.
  • Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers.
  • After fireworks complete their burning, douse the spent device with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding to prevent a trash fire.

For Firework Restrictions in Montana, click here.

Food Safety

Having a 4th of July barbeque? Here are some tips from the FDA for preventing foodborne illness and keeping your guests healthy and happy.

  • Don’t let food sit outside for more than 1-2 hours, depending on the temperature.
  • Dishes like chicken salad should be placed on pans of ice.
  • Cook and grill meat thoroughly. Usually between 145o F -165o F.
  • Keep refrigerated foods at 40o F to prevent bacterial growth.
  • If in doubt, throw it out!  Been sitting out too long, toss it!

For more information, see the Gallatin City-County Health Department’s Food Safety Page.


Sun Safety

Have fun in the sun, but make sure to protect yourself from sunburns and heatstroke. Here are some sun safety tips from the American Red Cross.

  • Limit exposure to direct sunlight between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., and wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a protection factor of at least 15.
  • Reapply sunscreen often.
  • Drink plenty of water regularly, even if not thirsty.
  • Avoid drinks with alcohol or caffeine in them.
  • Protect the eyes by wearing sunglasses that will absorb 100 percent of UV sunlight.
  • Protect the feet – the sand can burn them and glass and other sharp objects can cut them.
  • Watch for signs of heat stroke—hot, red skin; changes in consciousness; rapid, weak pulse; rapid, shallow breathing. If it’s suspected someone is suffering from heat stroke:
    • Call 9-1-1 and move the person to a cooler place.
    • Quickly cool the body by applying cool, wet cloths or towels to the skin (or misting it with water) and fanning the person.
    • Watch for signs of breathing problems and make sure the airway is clear. Keep the person lying down.

Happy 4th of July!