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NEWS | June 27, 2024

Choose to celebrate safely this Independence Day

By Col. Will Phillips Air Education and Training Command Director of Safety

As we celebrate our Independence Day this July 4 and the freedoms we enjoy in this great nation, we also have the freedom to make choices … both good and bad.

Most of us look forward to the long Fourth of July weekend as a time to spend with family and friends, but, unfortunately, this holiday weekend has become one of the deadliest in the United States. From drinking and driving and fatigue to heat stress and water-related activities, mishaps spike during this timeframe. Not to mention, 73 percent of fireworks injuries throughout the year occur, on average, during the weeks before and after July 4, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Many of these tragedies come down to poor decision-making.

So have a plan to return home safely. Don’t drink and drive, get plenty of rest before hitting the road, and always wear your seat belt. Take precautions while soaking up the sun to include staying well hydrated. Wear lifejackets while boating or enjoying other water-related activities. And take extra precautions if handling fireworks.

So, this Independence Day, exercise your freedom to have fun with the people who enrich your life, as well as the freedom to enjoy the blessings of this great nation; but also employ the freedom to make responsible personal choices that protect your friends and loved ones from harm. With a little risk management, we can avoid any unintended consequences and still fully enjoy the Fourth of July festivities!