From spoiled food to out-of-control flames, plenty of hazards are waiting to crash your Labor Day plans.
What are the most common holiday hazards to look out for and how can you prevent them from raining on your Labor Day parade? Take a look …
Some favorite Labor Day noshes are the biggest food poisoning culprits when they’re not handled properly. Combined, meat and produce are responsible for nearly 70% of foodborne illness cases. Yikes!
How to Prevent Food Poisoning:
- Thoroughly wash your hands before and after touching food, especially meat, to prevent cross-contamination. Clean utensils, cutting boards and cookware after they have come in contact with food.
- The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends marinating raw meats in the refrigerator, not on the counter. Never reuse marinade for cooked food after it was already used on raw meats.
- Use a food thermometer to verify that meat is cooked properly before you serve it up to the hungry masses. Not sure what temperature to cook your meat to? Refer to the FoodSafety.gov chart of safe minimum cooking temperatures.
- Don’t air-dry produce. Blot or rub fruits and vegetables dry to remove microorganisms prior to consumption.
- Don’t leave food sitting out in the Florida sun all day. Put leftovers in the refrigerator within two hours of preparation, placing items in shallow containers to allow them to cool faster.
Many Floridians bid farewell to summer by spending the day by the pool. But be careful – even if everyone in your family knows how to swim, drowning is still a serious hazard, especially among younger children. Approximately 350 children under the age of 5 drown in pools every year, and most of these accidents occur in backyard pools.
How to Prevent Drowning Incidents:
- Install a 4-foot-high, self-locking fence around the pool to prevent young children from entering the pool without adult supervision.
- Designate a responsible adult to supervise children at all times as they swim or play in or near the pool.
- Put away pool toys and rafts immediately after use to prevent young children from being tempted to play in the pool area unsupervised.
- Stay away from pool drains, pipes and other openings that may cause entrapments. Be especially cautious with younger children.
- Don’t drink alcohol before or during swimming, or while supervising children in the pool.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, U.S. fire departments on average respond to more than 350,000 home structure fires ever year. If not properly managed, many common Labor Day activities can quickly ignite into a serious hazard to you and your home.
How to Prevent Fires:
- Operate your grill in an open, outdoor area that is well ventilated and away from your home.
- Never leave cooking food unattended, and keep flammable items – such as grill lighter fluid, potholders, wooden utensils, towels, napkins and cleaning supplies – away from the stoves and grills at all times.
- Leave fireworks to the pros; Never attempt to light consumer fireworks at home.
- Most importantly, be prepared in case of a fire. Make sure smoke alarms work properly before you begin your Labor Day weekend festivities and check that your household fire extinguisher is up to date.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, almost three-quarters of home invasions occur when a household member is not present. When you go out of town for extended periods of time – such as a quick Labor Day weekend trip – your home becomes particularly vulnerable to break-ins, especially if it’s easy for intruders to detect that no one is home.
How to Prevent Burglaries:
- Before leaving town, verify that all doors, windows and any other openings are locked and secured.
- Install timers on your lamps to give the illusion that you’re home.
- Ask a neighbor to park a car in your driveway, or leave one of your own cars out. Make sure the car is locked and store valuables, like GPS devices and portable video screens, inside your home.
- Give a copy of your house key to a trusted neighbor or nearby friend in case of emergency.
- Resist the urge to post your travel plans and activities on social media channels until you are back home.