Memorial Day Weekend Safety
You may have been dreaming for weeks about your three-day (or four-day) Memorial Day weekend. But do you know how to stay safe and make sure that an injury or illness doesn't wreck your weekend plans?
Memorial Day weekend is sometimes the first time people bring their grills out for the season, but before lighting up that grill, it should be checked. According to The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), check the gas tank hose for leaks before using it for the first time each year.
Each year, more than 10,000 fires involving grills, hibachis and barbeques are reported. Remember these safety tips when grilling:
- Keep propane and charcoal BBQ grills outdoors.
- Use the grill well away from the home, deck railings and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.
- Keep children and pets at least three feet away from the grill area.
- Keep your grill clean by removing grease or fat buildup from the grills and in trays below the grill.
- Never leave your grill unattended.
- Always make sure your gas grill lid is open before lighting it.
Food is an important item during Memorial Day weekend, but according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, food poisoning peaks in the summer months when warmer temperatures cause foodborne germs to flourish. There are steps to avoid this.
When shopping, pick up meat, poultry, and seafood last, right before checkout. Separate them from other food in your shopping cart and grocery bags. To guard against cross-contamination, put packages of raw meat and poultry into individual plastic bags.
Keep meat, poultry, and seafood refrigerated until ready to grill. When transporting, keep below 40°F in an insulated cooler. Divide any leftovers into small portions and place in covered, shallow containers. Put in freezer or fridge one hour if the weather is hot.
Wash your hands with soap before and after handling raw meat, poultry, and seafood. Wash work surfaces, utensils, and the grill before and after cooking. Use clean utensils and a clean plate to remove cooked meat from the grill.
Check your grill and tools
Use a moist cloth or paper towel to clean the grill surface before cooking. If you use a wire bristle brush, thoroughly inspect the grill's surface before cooking. Wire bristles from grill cleaning brushes may dislodge and stick into food on the grill.
Throw out marinades and sauces that have touched raw meat juices, which can spread germs to cooked foods.
Use a food thermometer to ensure meat is cooked hot enough to kill harmful germs.
- 145°F – whole cuts of beef, pork, lamb, and veal (stand-time of 3 minutes at this temperature)
- 145°F – fish
- 160°F – hamburgers and other ground beef
- 165°F – all poultry and pre-cooked meats, like hot dogs
- 140°F or warmer – after grilling, until it’s served
Swimming, boating or being near some kind of water may be in your Memorial Day weekend plans, but there are guidelines to follow in order to keep you and your family safe in:
- Keeping a close eye on children
- Never swim or dive under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol
- Check your weather and water conditions prior to leaving the shore
- Never swim alone
Sunscreen can help protect your skin against skin cancer and other skin damage – but only if it is applied correctly. The reality is, most people use less than half of what they think they need. The American Academy of Dermatology offers these tips for applying sunscreen:
- Choose a sunscreen that has an SPF of 30 or higher, is water resistant and provides broad-spectrum coverage to protect you from UVA and UVB rays.
- Apply enough sunscreen to cover all exposed skin. Most adults need about 1 ounce, about the size of a shot glass, to fully cover their body. Rub the sunscreen thoroughly into your skin.
- Apply sunscreen generously before going outdoors. It takes approximately 15 minutes for your skin to absorb the sunscreen and protect you. If you wait until you are in the sun to apply sunscreen, your skin is unprotected and can burn.
- Apply sunscreen to all bare skin including your neck, face, ears, tops of your feet and legs. Include any healed scars; the sunscreen may help reduce discoloration as well. If you have thinning hair, either apply sunscreen to your scalp or wear a wide‐brimmed hat.
- To protect your lips, apply a lip balm with an SPF of at least 15.
- Reapply sunscreen every two hours, or immediately after swimming or sweating.
Keep all of these tips in mind to have a successful, injury free holiday weekend!