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Safety officials urge Airmen to celebrate Independence Day safely

Air Force Safety Center officials urge Airmen to enjoy traditional Independence Day celebrations while remembering basic safety precautions. (U.S. Air Force photo by Mike Litteken)

Air Force Safety Center officials urge Airmen to enjoy traditional Independence Day celebrations while remembering basic safety precautions. (U.S. Air Force photo by Mike Litteken)

KIRTLAND AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. (AFNS) -- While Fourth of July celebrations and special outings to enjoy the holiday are traditional early-summer pastimes, experts at the Air Force Safety Center here caution all Airmen to practice basic safety precautions.

"Everyone is anxious to enjoy summertime activities, and participating in Fourth of July fun is a great tradition," said Bill Walkowiak, the Air Force ground safety deputy chief. "It's important to recognize Independence Day and reflect on its history. While looking forward to traditional celebrations with friends, family and community, we all need to keep safety at the forefront of celebration plans."

Planning is key to enjoying a safe holiday, Walkowiak said, and offered the following tips to remind Airmen of the importance of reducing the potential for mishaps:

- Keep barbecue grills at a safe distance from your house and never leave them unattended.

- Know state boating requirements, inspect your watercraft and double-check availability of life jackets before setting out on the water.

- Don't swim alone or dive into water of unknown depth.

- Know your community's restrictions regarding use of fireworks. If fireworks are permitted, encourage spectators to view from a distance, and keep a bucket of water or water hose near.

- Use plenty of sunscreen and keep hydrated while participating in all outdoor activities.

- Use seatbelts while driving and a helmet and appropriate protective gear while riding a motorcycle.

"Sometimes people get hurt because of the little things that they forget," Walkowiak said. "We want everyone to have a great holiday and enjoy the free time. But we need everyone to come back safe and to remember: 'Safety -- it's personal.'"