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Don't Let Summer Get the Best of You

MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, KS -- Summer gives us warmer and longer days to enjoy outdoor activities. Yet, if we let the activities go unplanned, summer will get the best of us. Here are some tips to let summer know you make the call on being safe.

Motorcycle Safety Tips

The Motorcycle Foundation recommends the following tips to help motorcycle riders be seen by other motorist on the road:

Training. Attend a motorcycle rider-training course to learn how to safely and skillfully operate a motorcycle.

Blind Spots/Intersections. Motor cyclists must remain visible to other motorists at all times. Don't ride in a car's blind spot. Motor cyclist has to be more careful and aware at intersections where most motorcycle/vehicle mishaps occur.

Make yourself visible. Never assume other drivers see you. Wear bright and reflective protective gear. Make sure all your lights are working before every trip.

Wear an approved helmet and protective gear. Choose a bright colored helmet that meets the recognized safety standards, such as DOT or Snell Memorial Foundation. Wear protective gear such as a motorcycle jacket, pants, gloves and boots. These provide better protection than street clothes.

Improve your traction. Keep your tires properly inflated and in good working condition. Scan the road ahead for potential hazards. Avoid riding in the center of the lane where oil and other fluids can gather.

Water Safety Tips

The American Red Cross recommends these water safety tips:

1. Swim in designated areas supervised by lifeguards.

2. Always swim with a buddy; do not allow anyone to swim alone.

3. Ensure that everyone in the family learns to swim well. Enroll in swimming instruction courses.

4. Never leave a young child unattended near water and do not trust a child's life to another child; teach children to always ask permission to go near water.

5. Have young children or inexperienced swimmers wear U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets around water, but do not rely on life jackets alone.

6. Know how to respond to an emergency (including lifesaving CPR skills), how to tell if a swimmer is in distress or is drowning, and how and when to call for emergency help.

7. If you have a pool or hot tub, keep lifesaving gear handy. Always have on hand a ring buoy, life jackets, rope, pole or other object that can be used to help a person in trouble. Be sure to have a first aid kit, cordless phone and emergency contact information by the pool.

Barbecue Safety

When using a charcoal grill for outdoor barbecues, the Hearth, Patio and Barbecue Association recommends the following general precautions:
1. When using charcoal briquettes or wood chunks, form a pyramid and douse with lighter fluid. Wait until fluid has soaked in before lighting.

2. Cap lighter fluid immediately and place a safe distance from grill.

3. Never add lighter fluid to coals that are already hot or warm.

4. Never use gasoline, kerosene or other highly volatile fluids as a starter. They can explode.

5. As an alternative to lighter fluid, use an electric, solid, metal chimney or other starter specifically made for lighting charcoal briquettes or wood chunks.

6. Unplug and remove a hot starter with caution and be careful where you put it. Always cool starter completely before storing.

7. Never use an electric starter in the rain and/or when standing on wet ground.

8. When using instant light briquettes, do not use lighter fluid, electric, solid or metal chimney-style starters. Do not add more instant light briquettes once the fire has been lit. Add only regular charcoal briquettes if more are needed.

9. Once the grill is lit, do not touch briquettes or wood chunks to see if they are hot. Keep grill uncovered until ready to cook.

10. Keep vents open while cooking. Charcoal briquettes and wood chunks need oxygen to burn.

11. Allow coals to burn out completely and let ashes cool at least 48 hours before disposing.

12. Dispose of cold ashes by wrapping in heavy-duty aluminum foil and placing in non-combustible container. Be sure no other combustible materials are nearby.

13. If you must dispose of ashes before completely cooled, place them in heavy duty foil and soak with water completely before disposing in noncombustible container.

Fireworks Safety

The National Council on Fireworks Safety urges consumers to be fireworks smart, before, during and after their consumer fireworks display:

1. Before: Choose an open area away from spectators, homes and buildings and dry vegetation. Use a garden hose to wet down the area before firing.

2. During: As each device burns out, soak it using a hose, or bucket of water.

3. After: Place all used items in a covered, fireproof container and leave it outside and away from homes and buildings.

Summer should be enjoyed by everyone. When it comes to your safety, ensure you make the call so you can be around to enjoy the next year's summer.