News Releases > Residents encouraged to play it safe this summer
FORT WAYNE, Ind. (June 28, 2012) – Backyard barbecues, picnics and pool parties help us celebrate the summer season, especially on the Fourth of July.
However, these same activities can result in accidents, injuries and illnesses when families forget to play it safe.
The Fort Wayne-Allen County Department of Health and the Fort Wayne Fire Department encourage residents to celebrate safely and responsibility over the holiday and throughout the summer.
“Having fun and staying safe do not have to be mutually exclusive,” said Allen County Health Commissioner Deborah McMahan, MD. “I encourage everyone to get out and enjoy their Fourth of July holiday and other summer activities, just play it safe.”
Summer heat offers ideal conditions for bacteria and other pathogens to multiply and cause food-borne illness. The CDC estimates that more than 76 million Americans get sick from such illnesses every year. Protect your picnics and barbecues by following these food safety rules:
- Completely thaw meat and poultry prior to grilling.
- Cook meat, poultry and seafood to the proper internal temperature, using a meat thermometer.
- Wash your hands, utensils and cutting boards after they have contacted raw meat or poultry.
- Don’t use the same platter or utensils for raw and cooked meat and poultry.
- Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold.
- Refrigerate leftovers promptly.
Young children and the elderly are at highest risk for such heat-related illnesses as heat stroke or heat exhaustion, but even healthy people can fall victim to summer heat. So do the following:
- Wear light-colored, loose-fitting clothing, a brimmed hat and sunglasses.
- Use sunscreen with a SPF of at least 15 and both UVA and UVB protection.
- Stay in the shade and limit strenuous activity as much as possible.
- Drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration.
While enjoying the outdoor weather, be sure to protect yourself from mosquitoes and ticks which can transmit serious diseases. To keep the bugs at bay, practice these prevention steps:
- Apply an insect repellent that contains DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or IR3535 on clothing and exposed skin.
- Stay indoors during peak biting times, usually dusk to dawn.
- Eliminate sources of standing water where mosquitoes can breed.
- Check your clothes and body for ticks daily when hiking or camping.
Drowning is the fifth leading cause of unintentional injury death for people of all ages, and the second leading cause of death for children ages 1 to 14 years. Stay safe in the water by observing these tips:
- Never leave a child unattended, even for a moment.
- Always swim with a buddy.
- Wear a properly-fitted life jacket in or around water.
- Keep away from pool drains, pipes and other openings.
- Keep a phone and rescue equipment by the pool.
- Learn to swim and to perform basic first aid and CPR.
- Never drink alcohol when swimming, boating or skiing.
- Properly maintain your pool to help prevent the spread of infectious diseases.
Fire in the grill, under hot dogs and burgers, is a welcome sight at the family cookout. But fire anywhere else can make your holiday barbecue memorable for all the wrong reasons. Keep you and your loved ones safe by practicing these safety tips when grilling:
- Propane and charcoal BBQ grills should only be used outdoors on cement. Avoid using grills in the grass.
- The grill should be placed well away from the home, deck railings and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.
- Keep children and pets away from the grill area at all times – not just when cooking.
- Keep your grill clean by removing grease or fat buildup from the grills and in trays below the grill.
- Never leave your grill unattended.
If you use a starter fluid, use only charcoal starter fluid. Never add charcoal fluid or any other flammable liquids to the fire.
Keep charcoal fluid out of the reach of children and away from heat sources.
When you are finished grilling, let the coals completely cool before disposing in a metal container. Wet down the ash to ensure it is completely out.