Memorial Day is right around the corner, and with the long weekend means traveling, BBQs, and outdoor activities.
But road trips, swimming, and other activities carry a certain amount of risk with them, which means paying extra attention to you and your family’s safety on Memorial Day.
These tips will help you keep your Memorial Day safe for your family and your home, no matter where you go.
What is Memorial Day?
Many people automatically think of a day off work or school when they think of Memorial Day, but it actually has a much more somber meaning to it.
Memorial Day, celebrated on the last Monday of May each year, is a day to remember those who died while serving our country. It was first observed on May 30, 1868 as a way to honor fallen Civil War soldiers, and grew to include other wars as well. It wasn’t passed as a federal holiday until 1971.
Memorial Day is commemorated each year in Arlington Cemetery, where a small American flag is placed on each grave, and the President or Vice President of the US traditionally lays a wreath at the tomb of the unknown soldier.
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Ways People Celebrate Memorial Day
There are many different ways people all over the country celebrate Memorial Day. Some of the most common include:
Visiting cemeteries or memorials. Some people take Memorial Day as an opportunity to not only honor those in the service who have died, but also family members or friends who have passed away. It’s traditional to place a wreath on graves at this time as well.
Host or attend a BBQ. Memorial Day is also the unofficial kick-off of summer, and what better way to ring in the summer months than with a cookout? In fact, it’s the second most popular day of the year (behind the 4th of July) to grill; 57% of households celebrate Memorial Day by attending or hosting a BBQ.
Hold a family gathering. As a long weekend during prime travel season, Memorial Day weekend is also an excellent time to host a family gathering. It’s a great time to get together with loved ones, share stories about military service, or just enjoy each others’ time together with outdoor activities.
Go to a parade. Many cities and towns host a parade to honor fallen service members in the community. This is a great way to show support to military members while getting out and getting to know neighbors and others in the community.
Enjoy the great outdoors. May weather is perfect in most places across the country—most of the spring showers have subsided and it’s not too hot. The Memorial Day holiday weekend is a great time to go camping, boating, hiking, visiting a local park, or swimming.
Take a road trip. A long weekend lends itself well to road trips, and Memorial Day is no different—about 37 million people will hit the road during the long weekend. It’s a great time to go.
Visit a national park. Memorial Day is one of the busiest days at National Parks, and millions of people head to their nearest park.
Staying Safe on Memorial Day
Whether you’re traveling for Memorial Day weekend or staying home and hosting a get-together at home, it’s important to play it safe.
These tips will help you keep your home and family safe over Memorial Day weekend:
On the road
More cars on the road during Memorial Day means more traffic accidents—in fact, according to the National Safety Council, the average number of car accidents over Memorial Day weekend is 14% higher.
Luckily, there are things you can you do to cut your chances of being a statistic:
Keep cell phone distractions at bay.Thousands of people die in crashes involving cell phones each year. Never text or search on your phone while driving; instead, use a talk to text feature or pull over.
Slow down.30% of all traffic accidents are the result of excess speed. Slow down and drive the speed limit, and be aware of other drivers who are driving erratically or too fast.
Buckle up. Not only is it the law in every state (except New Hampshire), but it saves lives. Make sure everyone in the car is wearing a seatbelt, and ensure all kids are buckled up in appropriate car seats.
Make sure your car is safe to drive. Check your tire pressure, oil levels, wiper blades, and fluid levels. Get your oil changed if needed, and consider getting a GPS tracker and diagnostic tool like Vivint Car Guard, which can help you keep track of your vehicle and stay on top of maintenance.
Fire and Grilling safety
If you’re one of the millions of people grilling this Memorial Day weekend, fire safety should be at the top of your mind—grills are the cause of over 10,000 home fires each year.
Here are a few tips to keep things safe at home while you’re grilling:
Follow the 3-feet rules. Keep your grill at least 3 feet from your home or other structures; that way, if there is a fire, you don’t want it to jump to your home or another structure before it gets under control. You should also keep young children and pets at least 3 feet away from a hot grill to prevent burns and accidents.
Keep a fire extinguisher nearby—and know how to use it! According to a report from FEMA, portable fire extinguishers effectively put out 94% of fires within 2 minutes.
Keep your grill clean. A dirty grill can cause a grease fire, so make sure you clean your grill before use.
If you’re headed to the swimming pool or going boating on the lake this Memorial Day weekend, make sure you take proper water safety precautions to prevent drowning:
Have enough life jackets for everyone on board. Always wear a US Coast Guard-approved life vest when boating, no matter how good of a swimmer you are.
Always keep track of kids. According to the American Red Cross, drowning is the leading cause of death for children. Pay close and constant attention to children around water, and don’t rely solely on lifeguards.
Wear sunscreen. Keep sunburns at bay with by wearing a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15, and reapply every 2 hours or after swimming.
Learn CPR and basic first aid. Knowing CPR and first aid can be a literal live-saver in the event of an emergency, whether on the water or elsewhere.
Safety at Home
In addition to the millions hitting the road, another 2.6 million people will be flying out for the long weekend. If you’ll be away from home, you can keep your home safe with smart home and security devices that keep you connected, no matter where you are.
Use surveillance cameras. Consider setting up some security cameras throughout the inside and outside of your house so you can keep an eye on things while you’re away. With the Vivint Indoor Camera, for example, you can check in on pets and even talk to them.
Install smart lighting. Nothing says “no one’s home” like a dark house. Smart lighting is a great way to keep your home well-lit even while you’re away. You can set up room groups, like downstairs lights or entry lights, and control your lighting via an app no matter where you are.
Keep track of your home no matter where you are. If you have a Vivint Smart Home, you can control your home and stay connected to it no matter where you’re traveling with the Vivint App. Whether you want to watch your camera video feeds, answer your door, adjust your temperature, or turn on your outside lights, you can do it all from your App.
These safety tips will help you save a safe, happy Memorial day whether at home or away. To find out how Vivint can make your home more comfortable and convenient. Call us at 855.822.1220 for a free consultation today.
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