PORTLAND, Ore., June 28, 2017 — For many in the Northwest, the 4th of July holiday means enjoying the great outdoors, cook-outs with family and friends and fireworks celebrations. But festivities this holiday weekend can also come with risks. 

Since June 1, the local Red Cross has responded to help 215 people displaced by 56 separate fire incidents, several of which fire officials believe were started by fireworks or a BBQ. 

The American Red Cross encourages people to follow these safety and fire prevention steps to stay safe over the 4th of July and throughout the summer months. 

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: 

  • Never give fireworks to small children, and always follow the instructions on the packaging. 
  • Keep a supply of water close by as a precaution. 
  • Make sure the person lighting fireworks always wears eye protection. 
  • Light only one firework at a time and never attempt to relight a “dud.” 
  • 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 for a backyard barbecue: 

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

HIKING SAFETY If your holiday plans include exploring the great outdoors, make sure to look over these tips to hike safely: 

  • First, ensure that you and your family are weather aware. Read, watch or listen to the local news for an up-to-date forecast. 
    • Know local weather patterns and pack appropriate clothing for the conditions. 
    • Plan for your turnaround times–the amount of time you need to get back before darkness. 
    • Share your destination point with a family member or friend. 
  • Make a family plan. 
    • Discuss with family members the precautions they should take to stay safe along the trails 
    • Plan how to adjust your activities to avoid strenuous exercise during the warmest part of the day. 
    • Drink water ahead of time and during your activities to avoid dehydration. 
    • If you hike with your pets, ensure that your animals’ needs for water and shade are met. 
  • Safety is always a concern while outdoors; bring a first aid kit and an emergency supplies kit that includes the following items: 
    • Bandages 
    • Alcohol-based hand sanitizer 
    • Tissues 
    • Ibuprofen 
    • Tissues 
    • Water or sports drinks with electrolytes 
  • Make sure you have the skills you need for your camping or hiking adventure. You may need to know how to read a compass, make a temporary shelter or deliver first aid. 
  • It’s safest to hike or camp with at least one companion. If you’ll be entering a remote area, your group should have a minimum of four people. 
  • Some areas require you to have reservations or certain permits. If an area is closed, there’s a reason, so don’t go there. Find out in advance about any regulations — there may be specific guidelines about wildlife. 

RED CROSS EMERGENCY APPS: People can download the free, all-inclusive Red Cross Emergency app which combines more than 35 separate emergency alert systems; expert first aid and medical advice; and preparedness tips for numerous emergency situations. Users can find the free app in smartphone app stores by searching for the American Red Cross or going to redcross.org/apps. This app is available in multiple languages. 

About the American Red Cross The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org/Cascades or find us on Facebook at Facebook.com/RedCrossCascades, Twitter at @RedCrossCasc and find us on Instagram at @RedCrossCascades.