Many Oregonians will enjoy a three-day weekend this year with Independence Day falling on a Sunday. As you plan your Fourth of July, you might be thinking of travel, fireworks or a yummy barbecue.

The Oregon Red Cross would like everyone to enjoy a safe summer holiday, and offers some tips to help you and your loved ones have a great weekend.

Grilling:

Even if you consider yourself a lean, mean, grilling machine, that doesn't mean you shouldn't do it safely.

First, always supervise a barbecue grill when in use. Nobody likes a burned burger (or a burned anything else).

Never add charcoal starter fluid when coals have already been ignited. And keep the grill out in the open, away from the house, the deck, tree branches, or anything that could catch fire. That means you should not be grilling in your house, camper, tent or any enclosed area.

While you're mastering the art of the perfectly-cooked steak, make sure everyone else, including the pets, stays away from the grill. Finally, keep yourself safe by using the long-handled tools especially made for cooking on the grill.

Fireworks

Spectacular fireworks are often a highlight of the Fourth. You can enjoy the show safely by following a few tips:

?Store fireworks in a cool, dry place away from children and pets.

?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.

In addition, stay at least 500 feet away from professional fireworks displays, and leave any area immediately where untrained amateurs are using fireworks.

The Hermiston Herald and Oregon Red Cross wishes everyone a safe and happy Fourth of July. For more safety and preparedness tips, visit www.oregonredcross.org/safetytips.

In Oregon, the American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disaster an average of 10 times a week; supplies more than 90 percent of Oregon's blood; teaches thousands of Oregonians lifesaving skills; offers transportation to seniors and the disabled; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families.

The Red Cross is a charitable organization - not a government agency - and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission.

For more information, please visit www.oregonredcross.org or join our award-winning blog at www.oregonredcross.org/blog.

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