Practice your risk management this 4th of July Published July 1, 2014 By Michael Griffith 59th MDW Safety Office JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas -- The Fourth of July is an opportunity for everyone to celebrate our country's independence and freedom. Unfortunately, along with the celebration come possible hazards when risk management is not soundly applied. Many will take the time to travel and see family and friends, enjoy the beach and lakes, or just stay home and enjoy local activities. Let's face it; there is nothing wrong with taking that long awaited summer road trip or visiting your favorite beach or campsite. Just take the time to apply Personal Risk Management to your particular situation or circumstances. What exactly does this mean? Simply put -- think before you act. Transfer those professional risk management principles you practice every day, on the job, to your personal lives this holiday. The Fourth of July is a great time to gather with friends and family, grill out, enjoy fireworks and just generally relax and have fun. You don't want to interrupt the fun with a trip to the emergency room. Don't make this holiday a bad memory; keep the following tips in mind while you celebrate: ENJOY THE WATER - If at the lake swimming, be sure to swim with others, - Swim in known safe areas and never dive into water when you don't know the depth or what hazards rest below. - Know your physical abilities and limitations. - Don't mix alcohol and swimming. - Take a boating safety course if operating any kind of water craft. - Know state laws and check equipment before boating. - Complete an AETC Form 410 if participating in water sports or any kind of high-risk activity as determined by the local safety office or your commander. USING FIREWORKS - Our recommended safest option is to leave the fireworks to the professionals. - Maintain adult supervision while fireworks are being used. - Use extreme caution when handling fireworks and read the warning labels. - Observe local laws on the use of fireworks. Does your area ban fireworks? - Keep a bucket of water or fire extinguisher handy in case of a malfunction or fire. - Never throw or point fireworks at another person. - Don't experiment with homemade fireworks. - Leave duds and short fuses alone. - Sparklers burn at a temperature above 1,800 degrees. TRAVELING - There will be lots of people on the roads over the weekend; please keep your cool and drive defensively. - Plan your trip, regardless of whether you're traveling out of town or just around the corner - Be well rested if driving long distances. - Inspect your vehicle to include fluids and spare tire pressures. - Don't drive distracted. - Remember that alcohol normally affects your judgment first, plan ahead. - Look out for motorcyclists and pedestrians. - If you are under 26, complete the AETC Form 29b, Pre-Departure Safety Briefing.