5 Tips to Keep Your 4th of July Safe and Fun

fireworks

Break out the grill, ready the yard games, and don the red, white, and blue – Independence Day is just around the corner! As you prepare to celebrate our nation’s birthday with delicious food and great company, take the time to follow these 5 important tips to keep you safe and the festivities fun.

Leave the Fireworks to the Professionals – No July 4th is complete without oohing and aahing at a masterful display of fireworks. Come out to one of the many displays that towns in the Greater St. Louis region will be hosting. Stay at least 500 feet to enjoy the show safely (They’re better from a distance anyway!).

Grill Like a Pro – Cook up amazing food, not a recipe for disaster! Supervise your grill whenever it’s in use, and make sure that everyone else stays away until the food is ready and the grill is off. Remember to use long-handled tools to keep your hands safe and burn-free!

Say No to UV Rays – Speaking of getting burned, you’ll also want to protect yourself from the sun’s harmful rays this 4th of July. The sun is at its strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., so remember to apply sunscreen half an hour before heading outside and wear a protective hat and sunglasses as well. Don’t forget to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated, too!

Be Smart Behind the Wheel – Did you know that Independence Day is the most dangerous day to drive in the United States? If you have to be out on the road this July 4th, be extra cautious. Don’t use your cell phone and always wear a seat belt. Make sure that children are properly buckled in the correct seat and that they are never left in an unattended vehicle. And of course, never drink and drive!

Take Care of Your Pets – Dogs and cats aren’t the biggest fans of the 4th. Many of them are terrified of the loud noises and bright bursts of light that fireworks bring. Keep your pets indoors and consider keeping a radio or television on to distract them from the commotion. If they do go outside, make sure that they’re wearing a collar with an up-to-date ID tag.

From all of us at The Massey Team at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Elite Properties, we wish you a happy, fun, and safe 4th of July this year!

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10 Smart Ways to Stay Safe During Summer Storms

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A rumble of thunder, a bolt of lightning, a sudden change in the atmosphere – these are telltale signs that a storm is a-brewin’ and could be heading right your way in the near future.

While you might feel the desire to reenact Twister and go chase down the storm to make your Instagram a little snazzier, we’re here to tell you that it’s a really bad idea. In fact, we want you to stay safe during inclement weather, so we’ve taken the liberty of putting together a list of 10 handy tips to keep you and your loved ones protected from those wicked seasonal storms roll around:

Keep an Eye on Your Trees – Have you noticed that some of the trees in your yard have a few dead or rotting limbs? If so, take the time before any storms come to take them down. If one of your trees appears to be rotting or is dead, remove it before a storm does that for you (and causes some unnecessary damage to your property).

Prepare Before the Storm – Any thunderstorm can cause damage to your home or belongings. If a storm is on the way, take the time to shut any open windows and secure all outside doors. Don’t forget to tie down or relocate anything that could be blown away outside, and unplug your electronics to avoid a possible surge.

Beware of Flash Flooding – According to the National Weather Service, flash flooding is responsible for more fatalities than any other thunderstorm hazard, and it’s also the leading cause of weather-related deaths in the nation. If you notice that the road ahead is covered with water, turn around and take an alternate route.

Invest in Surge Protectors – When lightning strikes your home, it can surge through your power outlets, which can damage any appliances attached to them. Take care of your electronics by investing in a surge protector, especially in rooms that use a lot of electricity. These handy devices help redirect excess electricity toward a grounding wire and neutralizing it, keeping your home and everything within safe!

Stay Away From Metal and Electrical Equipment – If you paid attention in your earth science class, you probably remember that metal conducts electricity. Should you be handling metal or electrical equipment during a storm, you run a real possibility of electrocution. Don’t use telephones, laptops, or computers unless it’s an emergency. Stay away from other dangerous objects like aluminum bats, golf clubs, bicycles, and any devices that are plugged in for recharging until the storm passes.

Delay That Shower – It’s also dangerous to come into contact with water whenever a storm is in the area. While using the restroom and washing your hands is minimally risky, taking a bath or shower and doing the laundry is unsafe. That’s right, we’re giving you a real reason for you to put off doing the laundry! Pay close attention to the weather to make sure that it’s safe to begin your chores or take a shower.

Stay Inside – We know. You just want to go outside on the porch and watch the storm roll on by, but the safest thing for you to do is to head back inside and to stay far away from the windows and doors. Your body carries a slight natural electrical charge, which can attract lightning if you’re the strongest charge in the area. We recommend staying inside near the center of a ground-floor room, especially during a particularly nasty storm system.

Avoid Storm-Damaged Areas – After the storm, it’s best to keep away from any areas that have fallen branches and downed powered lines in the streets. If you happen to see any live power lines on the ground, report them to the police immediately.

Steer Clear of Trees – Should you find yourself outside when a storm arrives, maintain a healthy distance from natural lightning rods like tall, isolated trees. You should also avoid being near small structures in open areas. These objects can increase the likelihood of lightning striking near you!

Take a Storm Spotter Class – They’re fun, educational, open to the public, and free! You’ll learn how to look at cloud formations and identify potentially dangerous weather situations. Besides learning how you can keep yourself and your loved ones safe during inclement weather, you can also become a volunteer storm spotter for the National Weather Service! Learn more and find a class near you here!

We hope that these tips will help you stay safe during those summertime storms. If we left out any handy pieces of advice, be sure to let us know in the comment below!

10 Easy Ways to Have Fun Around St. Louis This Summer

School’s out, the sun is back, and everyone’s sporting shorts and sandals. That’s right – summer’s back in the St. Louis area, and we are loving it! Of course, you don’t need to have a beach and an ocean to get the most out of the season. There are plenty of fantastic things to do in your own backyard!

Enjoy summer to the fullest with these 10 fun ideas:

Visit a Farmers Market – There’s nothing like fresh produce, and summer gives us some of the best. You can find all of the berries, peaches, corn, tomatoes, and peppers you want at your local farmers markets! Pick out your favorites, along with some farm fresh eggs, local honey, and delectable bread, as you listen to live entertainment. Oh, and you could find some fun gifts for your friends or yourself, too – there are plenty of crafts, handmade soaps, jewelry, baskets, and more! Just head over to Alton, Edwardsville, or Jerseyville to get started.

Catch a Game or Two – It just isn’t summer without some baseball! Enjoy America’s favorite pastime at Busch Stadium, around the local ball field, or in your backyard playing catch with your family and friends.

Check Out Local Homecomings – Summers call for fun times out in the local parks eating corn dogs and funnel cakes while the kids have the time of their lives on the Scrambler and carousel. Celebrate Highland’s Swiss heritage with plenty of hot food, cold drinks, and fun games at the Schweizerfest. Get lost in carnival games and karaoke at the Glen Carbon Homecoming, or watch a tractor pull, demolition derby, and more at the Madison County Fair.

Go For a Spontaneous Drive – What better time of year is there for grabbing your friends and driving somewhere beautiful with the windows down? Whether you’re marveling at the beauty of the Great River Road, revisiting the tale of the Piasa Bird, or blazing your own trail on your favorite back roads, you’re sure to enjoy the wind flying through your hair as the music blares from your speakers.

Play a Set of Washers – While many of us do whatever we can to stay out of the hot summer sun, we tend to make an exception when it comes to playing a rousing game of washers. Of course, if you want to do ladder golf, Frisbee, cornhole, or any other sport instead (or in addition to) washers, we say go for it!

Meet Your Friends at the Muny – The Muny is celebrating their 100th season this year! Now’s the time to head out to Forest Park and catch one of your favorite shows with your family and friends. Shows this year include Meet Me in St. Louis, Singin’ in the Rain, Jersey Boys, Annie, and many more. Get your tickets here and get ready to have a blast!

Savor St. Louis Classic Foods – Whether you’re cooking up some pork steaks or horseshoes at home, demolishing a plate of toasted raviolis with your best friends, or splitting a St. Louis-style pizza at a party, you can’t go wrong with enjoying some local cuisine throughout the season. Don’t forget to top it all off with some delicious gooey butter cake, no matter what the occasion!

Consume a Healthy Amount of Frozen Custard – When dusk rolls around, it isn’t uncommon to find your neighbors or people you’ve gone to school with lined up and waiting to sink their teeth into some fresh frozen custard. Enjoy a classic concrete at Ted Drewes, savor Annie’s Frozen Custard’s Flavor of the Week, or order your favorite concoction of flavors at Bobby’s Frozen Custard.

Be Dazzled by Fireworks – No July 4th celebration is complete without a fireworks display! Fortunately, St. Louis has some of the best shows in the nation. Prepare to be left awestruck whenever you check out the fireworks in the city, Edwardsville, Alton, Highland, Troy, Granite City, and anywhere else you may go in the Metro East St. Louis region!

Soak in the Music at the Muny Band Concerts – Head on over to Highland, Edwardsville, or Alton (or all 3!) to sit back and enjoy some beautiful live music with your friends and family! You just need to bring a lawn chair or a picnic blanket – these weekly municipal band concerts are free.

How do you like to celebrate summer? Tell us in the comments below!