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Campus Emergency Management: 4th of July Safety


Most persons on UTHSC will be spending a well deserved day off due to this years 242nd celebration of the  adoption of the Declaration of Independence.  This means fireworks, grilling, maybe leaving town for a vacation destination.

Whatever your plans, please remember, safety doesn’t stop when you leave the University.  Please be aware of all the hazards that potentially await us out there that can interrupt your celebrations, but below are a few prime examples to be wary of.

Fireworks Safety: 

The safest way to enjoy fireworks, is to attend a locally sponsored public fireworks show.

However, if purchasing them and using at home ensure that you follow some simple safety steps. This is assuming that your area allows fireworks, and there is not a state or local ban.

Some fireworks can be extremely unpredictable – and even the “harmless ones” can cause trouble. Remember – the operating term here is “Fire” (Fireworks).  Proper handling of fireworks varies by type, but instructions and use should be clearly stated on the label.

  1. Keep water close by to extinguish any flames or fires that can pop up.
  2. Keep a first aid kit with burn cream available.
  3.  Ensure that the area is clear of flammable or combustible items.
  4.  Be aware of weather and wind conditions.
  5.  Fireworks also pose fire hazards, especially in areas that have experienced ongoing drought conditions or persistent heat.

Weather Safety:

Be aware of the local weather conditions. Heat index values may exceed 105 degrees on Wednesday and Thursday and possibly throughout the weekend in the Mid-South. Because of the humid and hot conditions, isolated strong storms may produce wind gusts, heavy rain and lightning.

Sun protection is key.

  • Limit exposure to direct sunlight between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., and wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a protection factor of at least 15. Reapply sunscreen often.
  • Remember to drink plenty of water regularly, even if not thirsty. Avoid drinks with alcohol or caffeine in them – they can dehydrate you.
  • Protect the eyes by wearing sunglasses that will absorb 100 percent of UV sunlight.

During hot weather, watch for signs of heat illness— Heat cramps, Heat Exhaustion, and Heat Stroke. All of these can be dangerous to you or those affected around you.

Please see the following website for more information on heat illnesses: https://www.weather.gov/safety/heat-illness

If the weather is not so sunny, UV protection is still needed.  And if you hear thunder – remember “When it roars, go indoors”.

Always keep in mind that if you can hear thunder, you are close enough to be struck by lightning.

This means that if swimming, you should evacuate the water until at least 30 minutes after the last thunder has been heard, or lightning seen. Check weather radar or forecasts.

Lightning most frequently occurs within 10 miles of a thunderstorm (although there are occurrences when cloud-to-ground lightning strikes known as “bolts from the blue” can strike up to 20 miles away from a thunderstorm).

Other Hazards:

If heading to a beach, ensure that you know the local weather forecasts. Keep aware of any tide or rip warnings and advisories.  Walk carefully into open waters – and never dive headfirst into unknown waters.

When grilling, always supervise the grill. Keep it in the open, and away from your home or any structure that could catch fire. Use long handled devices to handle food, and never let your fire get out of control – especially with fatty meats.


Always be mindfulness of cuts, scrapes, burns, and bug bites. Have a First Aid Kit available and ready to use when needed.  Unsure of what to do?  There is an app for that!

The American Red Cross has a handy application what works on IoS, or Google that is available for free. It contains a wealth of information and instructions for incidents that require First Aid. Please see the following:


HAVE A SAFE AND WONDERFUL HOLIDAY, and if you have any questions or concerns please feel free to contact this office.

Scott Campbell, Campus Emergency Management and Safety Officer
Safety Office – Facilities
University of Tennessee Health Science Center

201 East Street, Room 209
Memphis, TN, 38163

Email: Scampb62@uthsc.edu

(901) 448-1334 (W)