How to Keep Cool, Have Fun and Stay Safe This Independence Day Holiday

SACRAMENTO -- While Independence Day is nearly over, the Fourth of July celebrations, including fireworks, have yet to begin and there are still precautions people can take to stay safe, not only Wednesday night but for the remainder of the holiday week.

While this Fourth of July is not as warm as in years past, the cooler temperatures did not deter rafters on the lower American River.  What concerns rangers are the flows, which have tripled in the last day or so.

"Well, the river flows are up, up to about 5,000 feet per second. So, obviously, life jackets, life preservers… take care of each other," said Sgt. Randy Bickel.

It was so busy that all the free loaner life preservers were gone by midday.

Later in the day, at least in Sacramento County, safe and sane fireworks will be on the agenda. Along with them will be the temptation to toss them through the air, which is not a good idea.

"You never want to throw fireworks in the air, it could lead to injury," said Metro Fire Inspector Jenae Callision. "We’ve seen loss of an eye, loss of a limb."

It’s a good idea to water down shake roofs or dry grass if they are around where you light up.

The biggest mistake you can make is dumping spent fireworks directly into your plastic garbage can. That’s because spent fireworks stay hot, sometimes for hours.

That’s why firefighters say have a water hose nearby, or, better yet, a bucket of water.

It's not only fireworks that are burn hazards on the Fourth. Grill safety is also important and emergency room physicians are reminding picnickers to keep food at least 40 degrees to prevent illnesses.

"We have ice everywhere. Nobody’s trying to get sick out here," Burden said.

One other concern is E. coli.

Monitoring stations on the American River now measure E. coli levels, the same bacteria that caused people eating romaine lettuce to get sick. High levels were found near Discovery Park and Sutters Landing upstream but water experts say just don’t go swimming with open wounds or sores. Also, make sure you wash your hands or shower whenever you leave the water.