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With the slumping economy, more families are planning on staying at home for the Labor Day weekend. When you gather with friends for a backyard barbecue, remember these tips for a fun - and safe - holiday.


- Designate the grilling area a "no play zone," keeping children and pets far away until grill equipment is completely cool.

- Before using, put your grill at least 3 feet away from other objects, including your house and any shrubs or bushes.

- Only use starter fluid made for barbecue grills when starting a fire in the charcoal grill. Never use gasoline.

- Before using a gas grill, check the connection between the propane tank and the fuel line to be sure it is working properly and is not leaking.

- Never use a match to check for leaks. If you detect a leak, immediately turn off the fuel and don't attempt to light the grill again until the leak is repaired.

- Never use a barbecue grill indoors or in any unventilated space. This is both a fire and carbon monoxide poisoning hazard.


- Nothing is more important to the safety of a swimming child than the eyes of attentive parents. Never leave children unattended in or near the pool. Drowning takes only a few seconds.

- Even when there is a group of adults present, make sure one is dedicated to keeping an eye on any children in or near the pool. Giving one person that responsibility makes it far more likely potential problems are noticed right away.

- Keep rescue equipment near the pool.

- For extra safety, use a pool alarm to alert you if someone falls into the pool. Recent studies show that subsurface pool alarms are most effective. These alarms are not substitutes for adult supervision of children.

- Keep a landline phone near the pool so that if there is an emergency you can call 911 and the operator will be able to instantly trace the call and send help.

- Post emergency numbers and CPR instructions near the pool area.

- Surround your pool with four-sided fencing and a gate that locks.

- Make sure your pool is outfitted with approved safety drain covers and an anti-entrapment device to prevent drain entrapment, the often deadly tragedy of a swimmer becoming trapped by a pool drain's suction. Teach children to stay away from drains, grates and filters.

- When not in use, keep hot tubs covered and locked.

- Stay out of the pool during severe weather and thunderstorms, especially if lightning is forecast or present.

- Learn how you would save someone in trouble. Learn first aid and CPR. Make sure anyone who cares for your kids learns CPR.

- If a child is missing, check the pool area first.

- Use plastic instead of glassware in the pool area.

- Lock all pool chemicals in a secure cabinet out of children's reach.

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