Release Number: HQ-09-079
"As we take this opportunity to observe the July 4th holiday with loved ones and friends, we are reminded of all we have to be thankful for and why it is so critical that we do all we can to protect our families and communities. I encourage all Americans to take a few simple steps to ensure that if and when your community is impacted by an emergency or disaster, you are prepared.
"Most importantly, develop a family disaster plan - have the discussion now about what you will do if your community is impacted, where you will go, how you will communicate with your loved ones. I also encourage you to take a CPR or first aid course, transforming you from a survivor to an asset to your family and community in the case of emergencies. And, in the case of an emergency, after you have determined the safety of you and your family, check on a neighbor and make sure others are safe."
"We are all a part of our nation's emergency response team, and the small steps we can each take now will go a long way in shaping our successful response to the next disaster. For more information on how to make sure you and your family are prepared please visit http://www.ready.gov/."
Additionally, the July 4th celebration includes its own hazards, especially regarding the use of fireworks. Below are some simple guidelines from the U.S. Fire Administration:
- The best way to protect your family is not to use any fireworks at home - period. Attend public fireworks displays and leave the lighting to the professionals.
- Kids should never play with fireworks. Sparklers can reach 1,800° Fahrenheit (982° Celsius) - hot enough to melt gold.
- Steer clear of others - fireworks have been known to backfire or shoot off in the wrong direction. Never throw or point fireworks at someone, even in jest.
- Don't allow kids to pick up pieces of fireworks after an event. Some may still be ignited and can explode at any time.
- Think about your pet. Animals have sensitive ears and can be extremely frightened or stressed on the Fourth of July. Keep pets indoors to reduce the risk to them.
Learn more by visiting: http://www.usfa.dhs.gov/citizens/focus/.
FEMA's mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.
FEMA Community Preparedness Division