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Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial start of summer! It is an opportunity to gather with friends and family and engage in favorite summertime activities, such as cookouts, camping, swimming, and boating. Having fun also means staying safe, using good judgment and taking simple precautions that will prevent Memorial Day from going awry.

Food Safety – Memorial Day has long been associated with grilling food. So it’s important to be mindful of the dangers of food poisoning.

  • Wash your hands with soap and water before handling food and after touching raw meat.
  • To guard against cross-contamination of bacteria, keep uncooked meats away from other foods.
  • Use a fresh, clean plate and tongs for serving cooked food. Never reuse items that touched raw meat or poultry to serve the food once it is cooked.
  • Use a food thermometer to make sure meat and poultry are cooked thoroughly to their safe minimum internal temperature. The U.S. Dept. of Agriculture recommends cooking fresh poultry to 165 degrees, hamburgers to 160 degrees and beef to at least 145 degrees.
  • Refrigerate all perishable food within two hours, one hour if the temperature outside is above 90 degrees.

Grilling Safety – Memorial Day is a great time to brush up on a few tips to make your grilling season successful.

  • Thoroughly clean the grill of any grease and dust.
  • Check the propane cylinder hose for leaks and make sure hoses and fittings are tight. Make a soap and water solution and pour it over the fittings and hose. Bubbles will come out if there is a leak.
  • Never use a grill in the garage or other enclosed spaces.
  • Wear grill gloves.
  • Never leave a fire or grill unattended and always put out the fire with water or a fire extinguisher before leaving the area.

Water Safety – Some people will be put their boats in the water for the first time this year or open the backyard pool.

  • To prevent drowning, avoid alcohol when swimming or boating.
  • Wear a lifejacket whenever you are on a boat.
  • Don’t swim alone or in bad weather.
  • Always supervise children near all bodies of water – lake, river, pool, hot tub, etc. Drowning is a leading cause of death to children under five.
  • Learn to swim and teach your children to swim; learn CPR in case of an emergency.

Sun Safety – Memorial Day weekend is usually the first contact with the sun for the season, and the reason why so many people get sunburned or suffer heat stroke.

    • Drink lots of water to stay hydrated.
    • Always wear sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30; apply generously thorough out the day. Even on a cloudy day it is important to wear sunscreen.
    • Avoid the sun or minimize time outdoors during the sun’s most powerful hours: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. If outdoors, seek shade when possible.
    • Wear a hat and UV-blocking sunglasses.
    • If you feel faint or nauseous, go to a cool place immediately.

Travel Safety – This weekend, 33 million Americans are expected to hit the roads, according to AAA, but more traffic means more traffic accidents. Here are a few things to do before you go.

  • Prepare your vehicle for long distance travel. Have your vehicle serviced and check your wipers and fluids. Simple maintenance can prevent many of the problems that strand motorists.
  • Buckle up. Keep children in age-appropriate safety seats.
  • Do not drink and drive or travel with anyone who has been drinking.
  • Observe speed limits and follow the rules of the road.
  • Refrain from distractions of any kind.
  • Avoid fatigue. Be well rested and alert; make frequent stops on long trips.
  • Use extra caution in work zones.
  • Beware of truck blind spots. If you can’t see the truck driver in his or her mirrors, then the truck driver can’t see you.

Home Safety – If you are going to be traveling, don’t forget to protect your home before you go.

  • Secure all windows and doors.
  • Do not post on social media sites, such as Facebook that you will be out of town.
  • Use programmable timers to operate lights.
  • Stop your mail, newspapers and deliveries or ask a neighbor to pick up these items.
  • If you do not have a professionally monitored security system that will dispatch the authorities in the event of a break-in, ask a neighbor to keep a watchful eye on your home.

Lawsuit Financial hopes these safety tips help you enjoy the holiday weekend. And, remember to pay your respects to those who have given their lives so that we can enjoy the liberties we have today.

Mark Bello is the CEO and General Counsel of Lawsuit Financial Corporation, a pro-justice lawsuit funding company.

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