FORSYTH COUNTY -- Often seen as the last big hurrah of the summer, Labor Day will draw many to beaches, boats and barbecues throughout Forsyth.
The holiday is thought to signal the transition from summer to fall, bringing cooler temperatures and shorter days.
And while the goal is to have a fun three-day weekend, accidents do happen, and Forsyth County officials said they hope people take action to ensure their safety this holiday.
According to Forsyth County Fire Department Division Chief Jason Shivers, a lot can go wrong if proper grilling techniques aren’t followed.
Here are some of his grilling guidelines:
• Always grill outdoors – never indoors or in a garage. Gas and charcoal grills, if used improperly, can create a fire hazard, combustion hazard, as well as a carbon monoxide hazard.
• Grills should always be operated by an adult, preferably one with previous grilling experience.
• If a grill won’t light and is only blowing gas, or has been lit and goes out, allow 10-15 minutes for it to vent clearly before trying to relight it. Propane is heavier than air and will settle, undetectable, in the basin of the grill. The spark from a lighter can cause a small explosion if the grill is not vented long enough or properly. The same applies to lighter fluid.
• Pay close attention when lighting something propane-fired – never use gasoline.
While fireworks are usually associated with Fourth of July celebrations, they can Following are some fireworks safety tips from Shivers:
• Always use fireworks outdoors – never light them or place them indoors.
• Never point fireworks into a home or at people.
• Fireworks should always be lit and shot by adults.
• In any event of an injury or fire, call 911.
“Please bear in mind we have been experiencing drought conditions, and there’s a high probability of grass being extremely dry,” Shivers said. “If you use fireworks, please do so very carefully and have a water source nearby.”
Even though people may have their minds on football and fall festivals, climate-wise, it’s still summertime, Shivers said.
Here’s what to look out for with the weather:
• Heat exhaustion can be prevented by drinking a lot of water, finding shade and taking breaks from outdoor activities.
• If alcohol is being consumed, its intake should be tempered with water.
• Home and yard maintenance can also cause heat-related issues. Take frequent breaks and be careful in the sun; if you can, work in the shade.
• Try not to work alone, and wear head protection.
• It’s still warm enough for mosquitos to be prevalent, so bug repellent is also advised. Repellent also wards off potential disease-carrying bugs, like ticks.
Although Labor Day doesn’t usually bring too many extra people to the roads, Deputy Epifanio Rodriguez, a spokesman for the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office, had some general reminders.
Drunk driving is against the law. If alcohol is being consumed, have a designated driver or some alternative way of getting home. Don’t get behind wheel and drive if your blood alcohol content (BAC) is more than .08.
Be aware of increased traffic around Lake Lanier, and always follow the posted speed limit.
On Labor Day, Sept. 5, there will be a half marathon, 10K, and 5K in the area of Ronald Reagan and Peachtree Parkway (Hwy. 141).
The event will start at 7:30 a.m. and end around 10:30 a.m. Roads will be reduced to one lane in areas, and intersections will be blocked at times, so motorists are encouraged to take alternate routes if possible.
The main roads that will be affected are:
• Ronald Reagan between Hwy. 141 and Pendley Road.
• Hwy. 141 between Ronald Reagan and Mathis Airport Parkway.
Lake Lanier is a popular spot during the holiday weekend, and there will more than likely be boats aplenty.
Here are some tips to stay safe on the water:
• Boaters should always wear water safety devices, such as lifejackets. Accidents can happen to even the best of swimmers, so take measures to ensure safety.
• Drinking alcohol and operating a boat is illegal if a person’s BAC is over .08.
• Minors – those under 21 – must have a BAC of .02 or lower, but it is illegal for anyone under 21 to consume alcohol recreationally, so, lawfully, they should not have any alcohol in their system.
• Proper and working lights are essential, regardless of whether boaters plan to be on the water at night.
• Safety equipment, such as fire extinguishers and ring buoys – the circular floating devices tossed to people who fall overboard – is also important to have available and in an easily accessible spot.
• Boaters should never enter the water when lightning is present.