July 2008 Safety Tip

SAFETY never takes a Vacation!

July is vacation time - a time to relax and have fun with family and friends, but remember to bring "Safety" along to help prevent injuries!

With Summer comes the Sun - bright and hot, and with lots of ultraviolet (UV) radiation. While that sunlight may feel good and give you a nice tan, it can also be harmful. Recently, the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Environment Programme, and other organizations developed a new set of UV guidelines to help people protect themselves from UV radiation which is the cause of the most common form of cancer - skin cancer. The new Global UV Index, which has now been adopted by the USEPA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA's) National Weather Service (NWS), standardizes the reporting of UV levels in the United States.

As noted in the EPA's May 26, 2004, news release, "The UV Index is a measure of the amount of skin-damaging UV radiation reaching the earth's surface. Currently, UV Index forecasts issued by the National Weather Service provide information about UV intensity during the solar noon hour (1:00 p.m. daylight saving time) of the following day. The UV Index informs people when rays will be strongest so that they can take action to protect themselves. Overexposure to UV radiation from the sun is a preventable contributor to serious health effects, particularly skin cancer. Incidence of malignant melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, has more than doubled in the United States in the last thirty years."

To find out what the UV Index is today, please click on the following image:

And please pay attention to the heat - especially with young children and pets being left outside, or worse yet, in the car while you run into a store for an errand. Here in the desert southwest, this can be deadly. For more information please refer to the June 2003 safety tip regarding heat stress. It applies to everyone during the summer!


July 4th brings fireworks as a representation of America's fight for independence. However, fireworks are illegal in Arizona. Check your local newspapers for times and locations of public displays. Additionally, with the State experiencing a serious drought and many areas extremely dry, you should also avoid purchasing and using them.

If you must use fireworks, please remember the following:

  • Never re-light a "dud" firework, wait 15 to 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water
  • Never give fireworks to small children
  • Store fireworks in a cool dry place
  • Dispose of fireworks properly by soaking them in water and then disposing them in the trash
  • Never throw or point fireworks at other people
  • Never carry fireworks in your pocket
  • Never shoot fireworks in metal or glass containers
  • The shooter should always wear eye protection and never have any part of the body over the firework

OHSA's PYROTECHNICS PAGE has additional information and links.

Please remember that this summer, as with the past several summers, many areas where the public recreates, the conditions are very dry, reflecting the current drought. 2004's early fire season demonstrates these extremely dry conditions. Here in Maricopa County, the Parks and Recreation Department, has again closed the County parks (please see their news release dated May 12, 2004) to fires until these hazardous dry conditions have improved. Please be careful!

For fire information regarding some of the National Forests north of the Phoenix metropolitan area, please click on one of the following links:


For additional information, contact the Maricopa County Risk Management Safety Office at (602) 506-8601.

Return to List of Past Safety Tips  Disclaimer: Please refer to statement at top of Past Safety Tips list.