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Klamath Falls
July 24, 2024
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Get Prepared for the Heat and Having a Safe and Healthy Summer

Hello July! Now we are ramping up for hotter weather and of course summer travel and fireworks. Here are some tips to get prepared for the heat and having a safe and healthy summer.

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Heat-related deaths and illness are preventable, yet annually many people succumb to extreme heat. OHA’s website provides easily accessible resources for members of the public, local health departments and other organizations to assist ongoing outreach efforts to those most vulnerable to extreme heat events. https://www.oregon.gov/oha/ph/preparedness/prepare/pages/prepareforextremeheat.aspx?utm_source=OHA&utm_medium=egov_redirect&utm_campaign=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.oregon.gov%2Fheat

Oregon State Fire Marshal Urges Caution During Fourth of July Holiday Amid Increased Wildfire Risk

As we approach the Fourth of July holiday, the Oregon State Fire Marshal is urging all Oregonians to be mindful of the hot weather and increased wildfire risk. With temperatures rising, the potential for wildfires is significantly heightened, and Oregonians should take extra precautions to make sure everyone is safe.

Fireworks went on sale Sunday 6/23, and the Oregon State Fire Marshal is reminding everyone to “Keep it legal, keep it safe” The 2024 fireworks retail sales season runs through July 6 in Oregon. The state fire marshal would like everyone to know which fireworks are legal to use, where fireworks can be used, and how to use them safely.

“We ask Oregonians to be responsible if they plan to use fireworks as part of their celebrations,” Oregon State Fire Marshal Assistant Chief Deputy Mark Johnston said. “Every year, we see fires and injuries because of improper use of fireworks or illegal fireworks. Our message is simple: keep it legal and keep it safe.”

To reduce the risk of starting a fire, some local governments in Oregon have firework sales or use restrictions in place. Oregonians are asked to check their local regulations and follow them where they live or where they may be traveling to celebrate the Fourth of July.

Consumer-legal fireworks can only be purchased from permitted fireworks retailers and stands. State regulations limit where those fireworks may be used, including public lands and parks. The possession and use of fireworks are prohibited in national parks and forests, on Bureau of Land Management lands, on U.S. Fish and Wildlife properties, on state beaches, in state parks, and in state campgrounds. Fireworks are also prohibited on many private lands protected by the Oregon Department of Forestry.

For those who purchase legal fireworks, fire officials encourage everyone to practice the four Bs of safe fireworks use:

  • Be prepared before lighting fireworks: keep water available by using a garden hose or bucket.
  • Be safe when lighting fireworks: keep children and pets away from fireworks. Never use fireworks near or on dry grass or vegetation.
  • Be responsible after lighting fireworks: never relight a dud. Please wait 15 to 20 minutes, then soak spent fireworks in a bucket of water before disposal.
  • Be aware: use only legal fireworks in legal places.

Oregon law prohibits the possession, use, or sale of any firework that flies into the air, explodes, or travels more than 12 feet horizontally on the ground without a permit issued by the state fire marshal. Fireworks commonly called bottle rockets, Roman candles, and firecrackers are illegal in Oregon without a permit. Officials may seize illegal fireworks and charge offenders with a class B misdemeanor which could result in a fine of up to $2,500. Those who misuse fireworks or allow fireworks to cause damage are liable and may be required to pay fire suppression costs or other damages. Parents are also liable for fireworks damage caused by their children.

The Oregon State Fire Marshal has resources about the sale and legal use of consumer fireworks, retail sale permits, and state rules for firework use and enforcement activities to its website.

We also want to remind you that while many people enjoy the booming sounds and flashing colors of fireworks, they can be terrifying, overwhelming⁠ and hazardous for both wild and domestic animals. And very disturbing for neighbors who may have PTSD.

Celebrate safely this Fourth of July: Rethink the Drink, Drive Sober

Rethink the drink

As Oregonians gear up to celebrate the busy months of summer – from Fourth of July and barbecues to weddings and river outings – the Oregon Health Authority’s (OHA) Excessive Alcohol Use Prevention Program and the Oregon Department of Transportation’s (ODOT) Impaired Driving Program are partnering to remind everyone about the importance of driving sober and drinking less.

More than 2,000 people in Oregon die from alcohol-related causes every year. During summer months, the state sees liquor sales increase, which means there is more alcohol in communities and people may be drinking more.

“Excessive alcohol use can sneak up on us during many occasions,” says Tom Jeanne, M.D., M.P.H., deputy state health officer and epidemiologist at OHA. “Whether you are at home or out at bars, events, holidays or special occasions, summer is a time when it can feel like many of our favorite activities are also occasions where drinking is encouraged. But the harms from too much drinking can increase during this season as well.”

Jeanne adds that the immediate harms include motor vehicle crashes, boating injuries, drownings and heat deaths. “On top of these, alcohol contributes to cancer, heart disease, poor mental health, and many other health harms all year long,” he says.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 31% of all drownings are alcohol relatedHeat and alcohol can also be a dangerous mix.  About 11% of summer heat deaths in Oregon are alcohol related. But these deaths can be prevented. OHA’s Rethink the Drink campaign encourages people to have new conversations about alcohol. Rethink the Drink is partnering with ODOT to urge communities to come together to prevent harms and make our communities safer.

Everyone has the power to change how we show up for the people and places that are beloved in Oregon. That starts with people driving sober and doing what they can to reduce excessive drinking.

Tips for a safe Fourth of July and summer season:

  • Plan ahead: Arrange for a designated driver and use public transportation or ride-sharing services.
  • Host responsibly: Offer non-alcoholic beverages and monitor guests’ alcohol consumption.
  • Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of water and eat food while you’re drinking.
  • Drink less: Consider swapping every other drink with water or a non-alcoholic beverage, or watering down a drink with more ice or low-sugar mixer.
  • Make a plan: Decide your alcohol limit for the week if you want to reduce your drinking. Think about what triggers you to drink too much and create a plan to handle urges.
  • Count: Track your drinking using a mobile app or other tools. Find resources at rethinkthedrink.com/resources
  • Have conversations: Take time to pause, learn about the harms caused by excessive drinking, and talk with your loved ones about the way alcohol is prevalent in our lives and communities. Join the conversation at rethinkthedrink.com

Note: If you or someone you care about is suffering from alcohol dependence or an alcohol use disorder, free confidential resources and support are available online or by calling or 1-800-923-435.

Rethink the Drink, an OHA initiative, aims to build healthier communities by decreasing excessive drinking and the harm it causes to individuals, families, and communities. Rethink the Drink raises awareness of the effects of excessive alcohol use across Oregon. It aims to start conversations about alcohol’s role in our own lives and communities. This initiative emphasizes health equity, noting that Black and Indigenous communities, and those with lower incomes or education, face higher rates of alcohol-related diseases due to systemic inequities. Rethink the Drink is committed to OHA’s larger goal to end health inequities in our state by 2030.

The Impaired Driving Program seeks to reduce incidents of drunk and drugged driving through education, law enforcement, and public outreach. With the increase in celebrations during holidays, the program highlights the importance of planning for safe transportation to ensure everyone gets home safely.

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