Independence Day is always a special time to enjoy outdoor gatherings with family, friends and fireworks. In an effort to minimize the spread of COVID-19, many large public celebrations were postponed in Lake County, so more residents may choose to have barbecues at home or picnics with friends. Here are some safety tips to keep everyone safe during the celebrations:
BEST FIREWORKS TIPS
Each year, people end up in the emergency room with injuries from fireworks around the July Fourth holiday. The Consumer Product Safety Commission promotes these safety tips for fireworks at home:
Only purchase fireworks that are legal in your area.
Don’t buy fireworks packaged in brown paper. They may have been intended for professional use and can pose a danger to consumers.
Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them from metal or glass containers.
Never relight or pick up any fireworks that do not light properly.
Always have adult supervision.
Have a bucket of water or a garden hose ready.
Light fireworks one at a time and move away quickly.
Never point or throw fireworks at other people.
Douse used fireworks with lots of water from a bucket or hose before discarding.
Never allow young children to play with or light fireworks.
Encourage small children to wave flags instead of sparklers. A lit sparkler burns at about 1,200F which can cause third-degree burns, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.
"If the burn is larger than a quarter, in a sensitive area, or blistering, seek medical attention. After room temperature water is used to clean off the area, a very clean dry dressing should be applied before seeking emergency medical care.," said said Floriano Putigna, DO, Emergency Medical Physician at AdventHealth Waterman. "No ointment should be applied if you will be seen quickly by a medical professional as this will make the initial exam more difficult."
FOOD SAFETY TIPS
Outdoor dining is perfect for summer celebrations, but extra considerations should be taken for food safety. Here are some important safety tips for barbecues and picnics:
Keep raw meat and seafood chilled and uncooked foods in a refrigerator or an insulated cooler packed with ice until ready to fire up the grill. Keep the raw food away from cooked foods.
Foods left too long in the “danger zone” — between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit — can make people sick, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), so keep foods cool until serving.
Refrigerate leftovers within two hours of cooking or one hour if it’s hotter than 90 F outside.
Use a meat thermometer to ensure meat is cooked to the CDC’s minimum safe cooking temperatures: 145 F for fish, beef, lamb, veal and pork, 160 F for hamburgers and other ground beef, 165 F for poultry and precooked meats like hot dogs.
Serve cooked food immediately or keep it warm (140 F) until serving time.
Wash hands, utensils and grill.
Discard marinades or sauces that have been in contact with raw meat or seafood.
Don’t use the same utensils and plates for raw meat and cooked meat.
Staying safe in the sun is also important during summer festivities, so using and reapplying a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 at least every two hours is important.
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