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Fireworks Can Be Fun, But Watch Out

Tips for a Safe Fourth of July — From Food to Fireworks

Posted by Safeco June 15, 2015

Memorial Day might be the unofficial start of summer, but Independence Day is when the season truly kicks into high gear. July 4 is a holiday that has something for everyone, whether you like to host (or attend) backyard barbecues, get out on the water or just hang out at home and watch the “bombs” bursting in air once the sun sets.

As you celebrate America this year, however, keep safety in mind — those fireworks aren’t the only holiday staple that can be dangerous.

Along with using plenty of sunblock and staying hydrated, follow these tips to help ensure that you, your loved ones and your friends all have a great Fourth.

Food Safety

Whether you’re hosting a gathering or attending one, you’ll want to make sure the food you’re serving — and eating — is safe. The following U.S. Department of Agriculture guidelines can help:

  • Cook food thoroughly. Steaks, chops and roasts (beef, pork or lamb) should have a minimum internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit before being removed from the heat source. Ground meats need to be at 160 degrees and poultry at 165.
  • Keep hot food hot and cold food cold. You can keep cooked meats warm by placing them to the side of the grill rack, in a warm oven or in a chafing dish. Place dishes holding cold foods on ice.
  • Bringing food to the party? Use an insulated cooler with ice or ice packs to minimize the growth of bacteria.

On the Road

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the July 4 holiday period ranks as the nation’s deadliest in terms of people killed by drunk drivers. So, if you’re heading somewhere to enjoy the fireworks or just driving to a friend’s get-together, plan ahead: Have a designated driver or don’t drink at all.

On the Water

Spending the holiday on a boat? Lucky you. Just make sure all the equipment is operating properly and that you have the right supplies on board. Here are two more recommendations from the Coast Guard:

  • If you’re driving the boat, don’t drink or use drugs. That should go without saying, but it’s still a problem — alcohol use is involved in about a third of all recreational boating deaths.
  • Everyone needs a life jacket. A boat needs a Coast Guard-approved life jacket for each person aboard. Kids need their own — adult-sized jackets will not work for them.


Thousands of people are hurt each year by fireworks. In the month around the July 4 holiday, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, 240 people go to the emergency room daily with a fireworks-related injury. Don’t be one of them. Check out these quick tips, along with our fireworks safety post from last year, for some general guidelines:

  • Find a safe place, and be prepared. Always have a bucket of water or a garden hose at the ready. And, never point fireworks at a person, animal, home, tree or car.
  • Make sure adults are present. Kids should never play with fireworks.
  • Don’t stand too close. The most injured body parts in fireworks accidents are the hands and fingers (36 percent), head, face and ears (22 percent) and eyes (16 percent), the commission says. All are pretty important, don’t you think?

While these tips are great, perhaps the best thing about them is this: You can follow them and still have a wonderful holiday with family and friends. Here’s to America — and to you!


**Blog Post Provided by Safeco Insurance Blog** – Check back often for blog postings by Bagley & Bagley Insurance. (

Strong Bones for Strong Futures: Success Begins on the Farm – Westfield Insurance

The sun rises on sprawling green grass and hits a familiar patch of black and white speckled fur. It is just another morning on the farm with a long day’s work ahead. Farm Picture Blog

According to the Midwest Dairy Association, this cow and its peers will be milked two or three times before the sun sets. Crops will be gathered from nearby fields and, combined with animal-based dairy products produced, will be loaded on to trucks for processing and distribution. Here, these items will be packed for purchase and delivery to grocery stores, markets and school district cafeterias across the nation.

Farm-to-table eating has become a common knowledge and preferred concept, with restaurant patrons and home cooks alike favoring fresh, local and nutritious ingredients. A call to integrate better healthy eating options into schools has also been heard by the USDA. The organization set new nutritional standards for meals with implementation by the 2014-2015 school year:

  • Increased volume and variety of fruits and vegetables.
  • Whole-grain rich food offerings.
  • Only 1-percent or fat free milk served.

Adherence to these new standards will help students put their best selves forward, with increased access to the food options they need to succeed. Below, we showcase nutritional element calcium as a critical component for bone development, the variety of food source options that bring these nutrients to growing minds and bodies, and how your farm can make small steps to provide the best produce options for consumption.

Calcium and Bone Development

Calcium, a key element for healthy bones, is not made naturally in the body. It is a nutrient our bodies receive (or do not receive) based on the food choices we make from birth.

And those choices in our earliest years are critical. Not only is 90% of our total bone density acquired by age 18 for females and 20 for males, but our bone density begins to decline after age 35.

The more you intake in your early years, the more you will have built up for your later years, preserving overall strength longer in life.

Milks, Greens, and Beans: Food Sources That Assist

Great calcium comes from a wide variety of sources, giving you and your loved ones many opportunities to reach daily requirements (700 milligrams for children aged 1-3, increasing to 1,300 milligrams by age 9):

  • Animal-based Dairy: skim milk, cheese, yogurt
  • Soy-based Alternatives: soy milk, tofu
  • Leafy Greens: kale, spinach, collards, mustard
  • Vegetables: broccoli,
  • Beans: soy, white
  • Nuts: almonds, Brazil
  • Seeds: sesame seeds
  • Fruit: oranges
  • Herbs: thyme, oregano, basil

Healthy Eating Begins with Healthy Crops

Consumption of crops would not be possible without their growth and creation. It is important for farms to not only know the role that they play in providing for the masses, but the impact that access to quality crops can have on the growth and development of populations.

What could your farm regularly commit to and make sure the best crops are produced? A few suggestions:

  • Reduce chemical components. Go organic where possible, and work to reduce overall reliance on fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides that can cause damage to the environment and fill produce with chemical residue.
  • Develop strong water retention channels. Ensure soil is at its peak for water retention. Dig channels that hold water and invest in cover crops.

Which farm-to-table essential does your family favor to get the nutrients needed to grow strong? Share in the comment section below.

Image Source: Rochelle Hartman under Attribution 2.0 Generic