Red Cross Safety Tips For The 4th of July Holiday

It’s time for Fourth of July celebrations – fireworks, a backyard barbecue, maybe a trip to the beach. Whatever people have planned, the American Red Cross wants them to enjoy their holiday and has steps they can follow to be safe.

“We want everyone to have a great holiday, and a safe one,” said Alison Bono, Central and Northern Michigan Regional Director of Communication. “Whether the weekend will involve fireworks, grilling or going to the seashore, we have safety tips everyone can follow.”

FIREWORKS SAFETY The safest way to enjoy fireworks is to attend a public fireworks show put on by professionals. Stay at least 500 feet away from the show. Many states outlaw most fireworks. If someone is setting fireworks off at home, they should follow these safety steps:


  • 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.”
  • Store fireworks in a cool, dry place away from children and pets.
  • Never throw or point a firework toward people, animals, vehicles, structures or flammable materials.
  • Leave any area immediately where untrained amateurs are using fireworks.


GRILLING SAFETY Every year people in this country are injured while using backyard charcoal or gas grills. Follow these steps to safely cook up treats for the backyard barbecue:


  • Always supervise a barbecue grill when in use.
  • Never grill indoors – not in your house, camper, tent, or any enclosed area.
  • Make sure everyone, including the pets, stays away from the grill.
  • Keep the grill out in the open, away from the house, the deck, tree branches, or anything that could catch fire.
  • Use the long-handled tools especially made for cooking on the grill to keep the chef safe.
  • Never add charcoal starter fluid when coals have already been ignited.
  • Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using grills.


BEACH SAFETY If someone’s visit to the shore includes swimming in the ocean, they should learn how to swim in the surf and only swim at a lifeguarded beach, within the designated swimming area. Obey all instructions and orders from lifeguards. Other safety tips include:


  • Keep alert for local weather conditions. Check to see if any warning signs or flags are posted.
  • Swim sober and always swim with a buddy.
  • Have young children and inexperienced swimmers wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket.
  • Protect the neck – don’t dive headfirst. Walk carefully into open waters.
  • Keep a close eye and constant attention on children and adults while at the beach. Wave action can cause someone to lose their footing, even in shallow water.
  • Watch out for aquatic life. Water plants and animals may be dangerous. Avoid patches of plants and leave animals alone.


RIP CURRENTS Rip currents are responsible for deaths on our nation’s beaches every year, and for most of the rescues performed by lifeguards. Any beach with breaking waves may have rip currents. Be aware of the danger of rip currents and remember the following:


  • If someone is caught in a rip current, swim parallel to the shore until out of the current. Once free, they should turn and swim toward shore. If they can’t swim to the shore, they should float or tread water until free of the rip current and then head toward shore.
  • Stay at least 100 feet away from piers and jetties. Permanent rip currents often exist near these structures.


Additional water safety tips are available at

SUN PROTECTION 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. Protect the eyes by wearing sunglasses that will absorb 100 percent of UV sunlight. Protect the feet – the sand can burn them and glass and other sharp objects can cut them.

During hot weather, watch for signs of heat stroke—hot, red skin; changes in consciousness; rapid, weak pulse; rapid, shallow breathing. If it’s suspected someone is suffering from heat stroke:


  • Call 9-1-1 and move the person to a cooler place.
  • Quickly cool the body by applying cool, wet cloths or towels to the skin (or misting it with water) and fanning the person.
  • Watch for signs of breathing problems and make sure the airway is clear. Keep the person lying down.





Source: Red Cross Issues Safety Tips For 4th of July Holiday

Speak for Yourself: It’s All About Who You Know

In the middle of my 3rd year of law school, I decided that I wanted to live in Chicago.  The problem with this idea was I knew a grand total of 2 attorneys in the entire state of Illinois. I knew where I wanted to go, but I had only two contacts and lots of work to do. So I picked up the phone, called them, flew from school to Chicago, met with them for lunch or drinks, followed up with them relentlessly and put aside my fear that someone would say no to me. Slowly my network grew from two attorneys to five, to twenty five, to fifty and so on.  Two years later I am practicing law in Chicago because of the networking I undertook as a law student and new lawyer. My grades were good, don’t get me wrong. Hard work in the class room probably opened some doors for me. But the most important doors in my life I have opened myself through my own effort to network and build lasting relationships.

For the longest time, I believed that having good grades and a stalwart resume were the keys to success in America. This notion is laughable at best. We are conditioned to believed that those with the best marks get the best jobs. Recently, I heard a law school classmate of mine actually say, “I don’t need to meet people. I let my resume speak for me.” I almost fell out of my chair laughing. The problem with this type of thinking is that your resume may shine, but people want to work with people they know and like. If you’re simply a piece of paper, you are very easy to discard. 

An academic study by an assistant professor of management and organizations at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management confirms what I experienced when I got hired in Chicago: Hiring managers don’t always pick the most qualified applicants. They hire people they like and want to spend time with. They hire people who they think could be their friends.

I was always taught, it’s not what you know, it’s who you know. This has proved to be true time and time again in my life. For example, I was eating lunch at my desk a few weeks ago, catching up on work. A friend of mine at a respected plaintiff’s personal injury law firm called me out of the blue and needed a favor. He needed me to run on his firm’s team for the JP Morgan Corporate Challenge here in Chicago. I immediately agreed.  In the process, I met business leaders, fellow attorneys and members of the community that I otherwise would never have met. The power of networking is tremendous if done correctly. Here are my thoughts on how to make sure you are expanding the radius of your network.

1. Pick up the phone
Nobody is sitting in their office thinking “oh I should call that kid who sent me that resume, his resume just speaks to me. It is so amazing.” Your resume doesn’t speak for you at all. Only you can speak for you. So pick up the phone and make a call. I know, in today’s day and age actually talking on the phone is frowned upon. It’s scary. You’d rather text or email or send a Facebook message. Well you know what? Nobody cares what you want. They care about what benefits them. It’s very easy to ignore an email, text message, or social media message. The ringing of a phone is much more difficult to ignore. So give them a call, ask for their advice, seek out mentors. If you don’t pick up the phone, they’re not going to seek you out, they’re going to keep living their lives.

2. Get off the couch

Or out of the office, class room, law library, etc. Get out and meet people. I know what you’re saying. “I don’t know where to meet anyone, people won’t talk to me, nobody wants to meet me, can’t I just send my resume to the firm that I want to work for?”  Sure, you can send them your resume. But they’re just going to send you a “Dear John” letter. Why waste the paper?

Instead, you can go make connections by putting yourself out there. Join your local bar association and its young lawyers division. Attend events. Find a charity to work for, join their board. If all else fails, go to the closest local bar, sit at the bar and make small talk with everyone around. Do this once a week for 6-8 weeks and suddenly you’re the guy who can help out the bartender’s friend who just got arrested, or the regular patron who is going through a divorce. You can only do this if you get off your butt and hustle.

3. Follow Up

Life is busy. I don’t remember what I ate for breakfast some days. I have a long list of things on my to-do list. I have clients and cases to manage, court appearances to make, motions to file and countless deadlines. So how am I supposed to remember the law student I met at that alumni reception six months ago? I’m not going to remember them. Plain and simple.

Being memorable isn’t as hard as you think. Make sure you have business cards, pass them out to EVERYONE, but make sure to get one in return. Ask for business cards, email addresses, phone numbers, etc. Then make sure you call and email. Make sure you follow up periodically to see how people are doing, ask for advice or simply to take them to lunch or for a drink. This isn’t just how you meet colleagues, it’s how you make friends. Get after it.

4. Don’t be afraid to fail. 

Many of our decisions in life are driven by the fear of failure. What will people think of me? Here’s the plain and simple truth: You do not cross the mind of 99% of the people you know on a daily basis. The worst thing that can happen by a failed networking attempt is that the person you failed to connect with STILL knows who you are and knows how to contact you.

Brent Beshore wrote a great article for Forbes recently called “No One Cares About You- And That’s Great.” I suggest reading it. The fear of failure, embarrassment or rejection should not drive your decisions. Don’t be afraid to hear the word “no.” The more you reach out, connect and try to build relationships, the less you will hear it.

Networking is the single most important thing you can do for your career and your future. Unless you want to let your resume speak for itself and be simply a cog in someone else’s machine or taken out with the trash. If you’re content being an employee forever, then sit on the sidelines. I want my name on the door. Time to go shake some hands.