While Memorial Day is a time to honor our country’s fallen heroes, many Americans consider this weekend 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. No matter what your plans are here are a few tips for prevent Memorial Day from going awry.
Are you one of the millions of people who will hit the road over the long Memorial Day weekend? Have a safe trip with these tips.
- Before hitting the road, make sure your vehicle has been serviced.
- Clean your vehicle’s lights and windows to help you see, especially at night.
- Always wear your seat belt. Keep children in age-appropriate safety seats.
- Observe speed limits and follow the rules of the road.
- Refrain from distractions such as cell phones when driving.
- Avoid fatigue. Be well rested and alert; make frequent stops on long trips.
- Use caution in work zones. There are lots of construction projects underway as the weather gets warmer.
- Never drink and drive or travel with anyone who has been drinking.
- Let someone know where you are going, your route, and when you expect to get there.
It’s important to remember that bacteria grow faster in warm temperatures, so extra care needs to be taken to prevent food poisoning.
- Wash your hands with soap and water before handling food and after touching raw meat.
- 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.
- Keep meat and poultry hot until served – at 140 °F or warmer.
- Never let perishable food sit out for more than two hours; one hour in hot weather (over 90 °F)
When bringing food to a picnic, cookout, or other outing:
- Use an insulated cooler filled with ice or frozen gel packs to keep food cold.
- This includes meats, salads, fruit, vegetables, and perishable dairy products.
- Keep the cooler out of direct sunlight by placing it in the shade or shelter.
This is a great time to brush up on a few tips to make your grilling season successful.
- 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.
- Clean the grill before every use; grease or dust could cause a fire. Clean the grates with a grill brush to remove all old food particles.
- Never use a grill in the garage or other enclosed spaces.
- Keep kids and pets away from the area until the grill is completely cool.
- Wear grill gloves.
- Cook with the lid closed. Food cooks faster and more evenly when the heat is kept inside.
- Don’t add starter fluid when coals have already been ignited.
- Never leave a fire or grill unattended and always put out the fire with water or a fire extinguisher before leaving the area.
Memorial Day weekend is usually the first contact with the sun for the season, and the reason why so many people get sunburned. Drink lots of water to stay hydrated and be proactive to keep skin healthy and avoid a painful sunburn.
- Always wear sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30. Apply generously 30 minutes before going outdoors and reapply every 2 to 3 hours. Even on a cloudy day it is important to wear sunscreen. Remember approximately 50 – 80 percent of UV rays penetrate through the clouds
- 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.
Some people will be put their boats in the water for the first time this year or open the backyard pool.
- The person driving the boat must have a boating license.
- There should be enough life vests for everyone on-board.
- Make sure to always wear a life vest while boating no matter how uncomfortable they are.
- Always supervise your kids near all bodies of water. Drowning is a leading cause of death to children under five.
- Keep electronic devices such as cell phones fully charged in a waterproof bag.
- Intoxication results in 21% of boating fatalities so leave the beer at the pier.
Swimming Pool Tips:
- Install a fence or barrier at least four feet high for any in-ground and above-ground pool, holding more than 24 inches of water.
- Make sure drain covers are properly fitted with vacuum suction releases to prevent being trapped under water.
- Keep a space near the fence for lifesaving devices, such as a life preserver and cell phone.
A simple walk through of your backyard could also help prevent injuries.
- Inspect play structures thoroughly for sharp objects, rusty metal pieces, cracked wood or weakened support pieces. This includes the frame, slides, swings, etc.
Use soft protective surfacing, such as wood chips or mulch, under all outdoor playground equipment.
- Store all garden tools and equipment out of reach of children.
The last thing you want to worry about is your house being burglarized. Protect your home with these safety tips.
- Secure all windows and doors.
- Remove objects that might allow easy access to your home, such as trees branches, ladders or trash cans that could be used to enter a window or scale a fence.
- 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.
Mark Bello is the CEO and General Counsel of Lawsuit Financial Corporation, a pro-justice lawsuit funding company.
Attorney, certified civil mediator, and award-winning author of the Zachary Blake Betrayal Series—Mark Bello is also the CEO of Lawsuit Financial and the country’s leading expert in providing non-recourse lawsuit funding to plaintiffs involved in pending litigation. He is also a member of the State Bar of Michigan, a sustaining member of the Michigan Association for Justice, and a member of the American Association for Justice.