Celebrating the Fourth of July: Be Healthy, Be Prepared

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hands waving American flags

While it may not be the typical patriotic image we envision, helping yourself, your family, and your community be more prepared to respond to disasters could be one of the most patriotic things you do this holiday weekend.

In an emergency, the first to respond are typically those closest in proximity to the disaster. The first person to offer you help or who may need your assistance after a disaster will most likely be your neighbor or someone close to the area. In times of disaster we often rely on those around us. Simply knowing what to do and being willing to help in an emergency can make a world of difference—and let’s face it, what could be more patriotic than helping your neighbor in a crisis?

So in between grilling hotdogs and watching fireworks this Fourth of July, take some time to think about how prepared you and your community are to respond to a disaster.

We have even come up with a few tips to help you get started.

1. Be Healthy.bowl of watermelon and blueberries

As you load your plate with food from the grill, throw some fruit on your plate and take a walk after you eat. Keeping yourself healthy and taking steps to ensure that you are in good physical health can help you be better prepared to respond and recover from a disaster. Disasters can be physically and mentally exhausting, exercising regularly and practicing healthy habits like handwashing and eating healthy can help you to be more resilient and better able to help others during an emergency.


older feaml holding an American flag talking to small child


2. Meet you Neighbors.

The 4th of July is the perfect time to get out and meet your neighbors. As people grill out and spend time outdoors, take the time to say hello. Knowing who your neighbors are can help you better be prepared to seek and offer help when a disaster occurs. During an emergency you may have to rely on each other to help with evacuations or clean-up.

Child recieving first aid on a cut



3. Check your First Aid Kit.

The 4th of July weekend is a great time for outdoor activities, but accidents happen. Is your first aid kit stocked and ready? Make sure your first aid kit includes adhesive bandages and dressings, antibiotic ointment, sterile gloves, scissors, tweezers, and burn ointment. For a list of what to put in your first aid kit, visit our First Aid blog post.

4. Get Trained.

Do you know how to provide basic medical aid if needed? Sign-up for a first aid or CPR class. Knowing how to provide even minimal medical aid during a disaster could make a critical difference in saving someone’s life.


volunteer group hands together showing unity

5. Volunteer.

Look into volunteering in your community. Your local police and fire departments, the American Red Cross, the Salvation Army, or other local disaster response groups may have opportunities for you to help your community be more prepared. The Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) is also a great place to volunteer. MRC is a community-based unit that organizes local volunteers who want to donate their time and expertise to preparing for and responding to emergencies and promoting healthy living throughout the year.


Let’s celebrate our nation this holiday weekend, by proudly displaying our red, white, and blue, getting outside for a cookout, enjoying time with friends and family—and taking a little time to think about how we can contribute to the preparedness and resilience of our great country through our own personal preparedness.


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3 comments on “Celebrating the Fourth of July: Be Healthy, Be Prepared”

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    This blog is very interesting especially since there was something about a terrorist attack going around in the news. It is vital in normal day life to make a plan and make sure your family is aware of it. This blog makes me think about what I am supposed to in case of an accident and makes me want to actually make a plan with my family and make sure that in time of an accident we know where to meet and what to do. This is a type of blog that I would share with my family and friends so they can make a plan as well and know the basics of getting ready for anything that may happen. Many of us can think “Oh the government will take care of us” but in actuality the government only has some programs that are ready to help but the amount of people that are affected by a disaster is enormous. Per the Homeland Security website they state: “Every year, disasters put millions of Americans in danger and destroy billions of dollars worth of property.” We need to be able to have a plan and make sure that our family is protected and taken care of until the people that are ready in a larger scale get to us.

    I find this blog to be very interesting and it makes a great point how well is the community prepared for a disaster striking. Dating back in history in 1870, the U.S. Congress made July 4th a federal holiday; in 1941, the provision was expanded to grant a paid holiday to all federal employees. Over the years, the political importance of the holiday has declined, but Independence Day has remained an important national holiday and a symbol of patriotism. While we are all celebrating, it is important to know how to perform CPR. We also should think about keeping a first aid kit on hand. How many times have we all been at a party and something happens and were not prepared. I can understand the relaxation behind the holiday, but in the back of our minds we need to be prepared just in case a disaster happens, so eating small portions vs scarfing. Also for the diabetic patients it’s good to stay away from all the dessert that will be served.

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Page last reviewed: July 2, 2015
Page last updated: July 2, 2015