FARGO — Whoooo-weee! Feel that glorious light beating down on your back? Mm-mm-mm. That sweet, sweet vitamin D is just scorching.
The Fourth of July is fast approaching. Soon, lakes will be filled with adults and kids taking a dip to cool off after their bag tournament while the sounds of Toby Keith fill the air from each pontoon that makes its way across the reflection of the endless cerulean sky.
Whether you're enjoying a celebratory barbecue, lounging by the pool or throwing the football, the key to having a fun Fourth of July experience is having a SAFE Fourth of July. Fortunately for you, I have rounded up five tips to make your Independence Day the safest one yet.
Chug, chug, chug!
But not really. Or, if you're really feeling wild, chug-a-lug your drink but mix in a water or three every now and again, eh bud?
Hangovers are no fun any time of the year, but when it's hot outside and everyone is enjoying that glorious sunshine because they're "hydrated" and "not hungover," you're going to wish you'd slammed a few bottles of aqua instead of that last Naturday.
Honestly, though, hangovers are minimal compared to what can happen when the booze starts to flow freely. Heat exhaustion or stroke can manifest quickly while you're tippin' a few back, and drinking and driving is nothing to mess around with.
Not only is DUI enforcement ramped up during the holidays, you run the risk of severely injuring yourself and others. When the booze comes out, keys go away.
Besides, sitting around the campfire under the stars and fireworks is way more fun than driving home, isn't it?
Boom, crackle, hiss!
Ahhhhh, fireworks, those compact little canisters of barium chloride, sodium nitrate and titanium that shoot up into the night and explode with a loud bang.
On average, more than 250 people are sent to the emergency room every day during the month around the Fourth of July due to fireworks injuries. Sparklers, which are oftentimes handed off to children without a second thought, burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees.
Having adults supervise activities and never placing any part of your body directly over a firework device when lighting the fuse can ensure no injuries occur. Never point or throw fireworks at another person, and keeping a bucket of water or a garden hose handy can help put out any mishaps that may happen when fire comes in contact with the right materials.
Splish, splish, splash
Children love lakes and pools, man. And during the hot summer months, there's nothing better than that running leap off the end of the dock or ledge into the cool depths of that wonderful H2O. Woo!
However, parents and/or adults should keep their eye on their swimmers. It can be easy for risks to go unnoticed with a large crowd that's more focused on having a good time than what their kids are doing.
Younger and inexperienced swimmers should wear a life jacket or floaties, and at least one adult should be designated to keep an eye on the children to avoid any accidents.
Bark, cluck, meow
With all the excitement of the holiday, it is sometimes easy to forget about our four-legged furry friends. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals says almost one in five pets go missing after the sound of fireworks, and July 5 is reported to be one of the busiest days of the year thanks to our scaredy-cats and scaredy-pups.
To avoid any runaway fur babies, consider leaving them at home in a safe, escape-proof room or kennel, which could help to discourage any Houdini-like acts. Hosting the festivities? Ask your guests to keep an eye on your little guy or gal to make sure they don't disappear.
Keep any sparklers or fireworks and pointy cooking utensils (think s'more sticks) out of reach. And be sure to clean up any spills — nobody wants to clean up puppy puke when there's a party out back!
Buzz, slap, ow!
One of the great things about the cold winter months is the lack of buzzy, crawly blood-suckers we all know and loathe. Being prepared when the skeeters come out and the ticks start a-crawlin will help make sure your party will go off without an itch.
Avoiding perfumes and scented soaps can ensure those little buggers don't come close. The sweet scents of soaps and perfumes attract some insects. Keep away from stagnant water and heavily wooded areas where insects like ticks and mosquitoes are found and use insect repellent with a high concentration of DEET.
Friday 5 is a weekly column featuring musings, quick tips, tricks, ideas and more — all in bunches of five. Readers can reach reporter Emma Vatnsdal at 701-241-5517.