Tips to Stay Safe on Independence Day

News Release
For Immediate Release: 7/1/2024

Alycia Davis, (402) 471-1449,

Lincoln, NE – No matter how you celebrate Independence Day, be sure to stay safe with these tips from the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services.

Firework Safety

Fireworks are meant to be enjoyed, but they can also ​be dangerous. According to the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP), there are more than 9,000 firework-related emergencies annually. Approximately 36% of firework-related emergencies involve children under the age of 15.

If you are using fireworks, ACEP encourages you to follow these firework safety tips to limit your risk of serious burn or injury:

  • Make sure you buy all fireworks from reputable sellers.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher and a large bucket of water or hose nearby.
  • Light one at a time and keep all flammable items away from children. This includes sparklers.
  • Never try to re-light or handle fireworks that malfunction or do not go off.
  • Do not light fireworks in containers.
  • Do not point fireworks at people or launch them toward anyone.
  • When lighting a firework, do not stand directly over it. Back up immediately after it is lit.
  • After use, spray fireworks with water until soaked to avoid a fire hazard.

Grilling Safety

Planning an Independence Day barbecue? Follow these tips:

  • Only use your grill outside and at least three feet away from siding, deck rails, and eaves.
  • Keep a three-foot safety zone around your grill. This will keep kids and pets safe.
  • Open your gas grill before lighting.
  • Keep raw meat or poultry packed separately and sealed. All perishables including meat, poultry, and foods with mayo, eggs, or milk products need to be chilled or on ice until ready to use.
  • Keep an eye on your grill, fire pit, and patio torches. Do not walk away from them when they are lit.
  • Clean your grill after each use. This will remove grease that could start a fire.
  • Place the coals from your grill in a metal trash can with a lid once they have cooled.

Swimming Safety

Nebraska's pools and lakes are a popular destination on Independence Day. While water activities are a fun way to cool off, here are some tips to stay safe.

  • Always swim with a buddy; do not allow anyone to swim alone.
  • Never leave a young child unattended near water.
  • Have young children or inexperienced swimmers wear life jackets around water, but do not rely on life jackets alone.
  • Maintain constant supervision and avoid any distractions.
  • If you have a pool, secure it with appropriate barriers.
  • Have appropriate equipment, such as reaching or throwing equipment, a cell phone, life jackets, and a first aid kit.
  • Know how and when to call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number.

Outdoor Safety

Many Nebraskans spend Independence Day outside with friends and family. When you are enjoying the summer weather, remember to protect yourself from the sun, heat, and bug bites.

Follow these safety tips to enjoy your time outdoors:

  • Use a sunscreen that has at least sun protection factor (SPF) 15 and UVA and UVB ray protection. For the best sun protection, apply sunscreen 15 minutes before you go outdoors and reapply it approximately every two hours throughout the day, or after swimming.
  • Use bug spray, specifically EPA-registered repellents that contain DEET, picaridin, lemon eucalyptus oil, or IR3535.
  • Wear light colored, loose fitting clothing to protect yourself from mosquitos.
  • Do frequent tick checks after being outdoors.
  • Drink lots of water and do not wait until you are thirsty to drink. Avoid alcohol and limit drinks with caffeine.
  • NEVER leave a child or pet alone in a car. 

Go to
All News Releases