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From the Lake to the Backyard Pool: Tips for a Safe Summer in Indy

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Summer fun in Indy is endless and we’ve gathered some great tips to keep those fun, lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer SAFE for you and your family. From the backyard pool to your favorite Lake getaway, here’s tips on how to ensure your family has the most fun & safest summer yet! 


The Trail

If the sun is shining it’s safe to say the Monon Trail is thriving with runners, bikers, power walkers and dawdlers. With an average of 55,000 users each month, the trail can get a little hectic – The Indianapolis Monthly has some tips on proper Monon Trail Etiquette. Whether you’re just hopping on the Monon to get to your next brewery or are making the bike trek from downtown to Carmel, read this before your next excursion: Out of Line: A Monon Trail Etiquette Handbook.
Now, a majority of Indy residents can raise their hand when asked if they’ve heard of assaults on Indy’s most beloved Trail. Is the Monon Trail Safe? Considering the amount of users compared to the amount of reported incidents, the Monon Trail is safe and incidents like that are quite uncommon – they just get a lot of press. 
“When something happens on the Monon it’s newsworthy,” said IMPD bike patrolman John Wall, “Compared to the rest of the city, it’s one of the safest places to go and recreate.”
But just because crime is uncommon, doesn’t mean it won’t happen. Here’s some notes on using the path & staying safe John Wall gave our friends at Fox 59:
·       Park in retail areas that are higher trafficked
·       Secure valuables
·       Pay attention to your surroundings
·       Resist staring at your phone
·       Leave one earbud or headphone out of your ear so you can better hear and react
·       Go in groups
·       Use only during trail hours (dawn to dusk)

 Wall also provided these general safety tips for bikers:
·       Always stop at crosswalks
·       Be courteous
·       Alert those around you of passes
·       Slow down

If you ever feel uncomfortable or witness a disturbance, call or text 911. All 92 counties in Indiana now offer text to 911, just remember voice is best! 

If you use a wireless phone or another type of mobile device, make sure to do the following in an emergency:

  • Always contact 911 by making a voice call, if you can.
  • If you can’t call 911 because you’re in a dangerous situation you can text your emergency to 911.
  • If you are deaf, hard of hearing or speech disabled, and text-to-911 is not available, use a TTY or a telecommunications relay service, if possible.

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The Pool

From the kiddie pool in the backyard to the community pool practically turned full-blown water park, nothing tops a refreshing afternoon plunge in the humid Indianapolis heat. Ideally, a day at the pool always sounds like a good idea....then you get there and the showers are covered in more hair than tiles, and there's a questionable 'candy bar' floating in the pool. But don't worry, we scoured the city for the coolest and cleanest community pools in Indy for your perfect day at the pool! Click here for Indy’s 7 Coolest and Cleanest Community Pools!
Indianapolis was shocked when not one, but two drowning fatalities occurred in Indianapolis in 2015. Drowning happens quickly and it should be your number one priority to communicate safety rules before heading in to the community pool or opening your backyard pool up for the season.
The Indianapolis Star reports statistics from the Indiana State Department of Health show that dozens die of drowning each year in Indiana.
"It can happen in 60 seconds," said Therese McAninch, who heads the aquatics operations for Carmel Clay Parks and Recreation.
Among water safety tips McAninch offered were:
  • Parents should keep children 5 years old and younger within arm's reach at all times.
  • Older children and adults should always swim with a buddy. Younger children should always have parents, who are not distracted, watching them.
  • Everyone should wear life jackets in open water, and you should know your limitations and those of your children.
  • If someone is struggling in open water, don't jump in and save them yourselves. Call 911 and lie on your stomach and try to throw them an object to reach.

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The Fireworks Store

Indianapolis is star spangled scattered with amazing fireworks & events throughout the summer, but if you like to take pyrotechnics in to your own hands, be sure to check out Indianapolis’ fireworks laws and tips from the National Council on Fireworks Safety:
  • Obey all local laws regarding the use of fireworks. In Indianapolis, Fireworks may only be discharged from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. any day except on Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day and New Year’s Eve. On those holidays, discharge times are 9 a.m. to midnight.
  • Know your fireworks; read the cautionary labels and performance descriptions before igniting.
  • A responsible adult SHOULD supervise all firework activities.  Never give fireworks to children.
  • Alcohol and fireworks do not mix.  Save your alcohol for after the show.
  • Wear safety glasses when shooting fireworks.
  • Light one firework at a time and then quickly move away.
  • Use fireworks OUTDOORS in a clear area; away from buildings and vehicles.
  • Never relight a “dud” firework.  Wait 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water.
  • Always have a bucket of water and charged water hose nearby.
  • Never carry fireworks in your POCKET or shoot them into METAL or GLASS containers.
  • Do not experiment with homemade fireworks.
  • Dispose of spent fireworks by wetting them down and place in a metal trash can away from any building or combustible materials until the next day.
  • Report illegal explosives, like M-80s and quarter sticks, to the fire or police department.
And let’s not forget the safety of our pets!
  • Don’t bring your pets to a fireworks display, even a small one.
  • If fireworks are being used near your home, put your pet in a safe, interior room to avoid exposure to the sound.
  • Make sure your pet has an identification tag, in case it runs off during a fireworks display.
  • Never shoot fireworks of any kind (consumer fireworks, sparklers, fountains, etc.) near pets.

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The Lake

Don’t you just love it when you can say, “We’re going to the lake this weekend!” It doesn’t matter which lake (or reservoir in Indy’s case) it may be – everyone gets that relaxed, watching the sunset on the dock feeling and knows “The Lake” is the best summer place to be. On top of ensuring your children are confident swimmers, click here for more Lake Safety for kids – and don’t forget those water shoes!!!

The Grill

Barbecues are an absolute staple of summer – you can’t go through a summer without a rack of rips or grilled cheeseburgers off the grill! Think you're a grillmaster? Click here to check your Grilling IQ. Now, before you grab the charcoal and light her up, just remember these Tips for Safe Summer Barbecues:


1. Keep your grill at least 10 feet away from your house. Farther is even better. This includes portions attached to your house like carports, garages and porches. Grills should not be used underneath wooden overhangs either, as the fire could flare up into the structure above. This applies to both charcoal and gas grills.
2. Clean your grill regularly. If you allow grease and fat to build up on your grill, they provide more fuel for a fire. Grease is a major source of flare ups.
3. Check for gas leaks. You can make sure no gas is leaking from your gas grill by making a solution of half liquid dish soap and half water and rubbing it on the hoses and connections. Then, turn the gas on (with the grill lid open.) If the soap forms large bubbles, that's a sign that the hoses have tiny holes or that the connections are not tight enough.
4. Keep decorations away from your grill. Decorations like hanging baskets, pillows and umbrellas look pretty AND provide fuel for a fire. To make matters worse, today's decor is mostly made of artificial fibers that burn fast and hot, making this tip even more important.
5. Keep a spray bottle of water handy. That way, if you have a minor flare-up you can spray it with the water to instantly calm it. The bonus of this tip is that water won't harm your food, so dinner won't be ruined!
6. Keep a fire extinguisher within a couple steps of your grill. And KNOW HOW TO USE IT. If you are unsure how to use the extinguisher, don't waste time fiddling with it before calling 911. Firefighters say many fire deaths occur when people try to fight a fire themselves instead of calling for expert help and letting the fire department do its job.


7. Turn on the gas while your grill lid is closed. NEVER do this. It causes gas to build up inside your grill, and when you do light it and open it, a fireball can explode in your face. Here is a demonstration.
8. Leave a grill unattended. Fires double in size every minute. Plan ahead so that all of your other food prep chores are done and you can focus on grilling.
9. Overload your grill with food. This applies especially fatty meats. The basic reason for this tip is that if too much fat drips on the flames at once, it can cause a large flare-up that could light nearby things on fire.
10. Use a grill indoors. People often think it will be safe to use a grill, especially a small one, indoors. NOT TRUE. In addition to the fire hazard, grills release carbon monoxide, the deadly colorless, odorless gas. That gas needs to vent in fresh air or it can kill you, your family and pets.

Now, let the Summer Fun commence! We wish you all a safe and happy summer ;)

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