Labor Day is the perfect holiday to mark the end summer. Whether you are staying home, throwing a small gathering, or hitting the road for the weekend, you want to make sure you are celebrating safely.
Here are some tips on how to stay safe this Labor Day in Florida:
Most homeowners all across the state of Florida will be grilling on Labor Day. Although this is a great way to celebrate the day, grilling does come with some risks.
How to grill safely:
- For your safety, do not use bristle grill scrapers. Bristles can easily break off of a scraper and land into food on the grill, leading to dangerous choking hazards. Switch to a bristle-free grill brush instead.
- If you are having a lot of people over for Labor Day, you want to make sure your grill is positioned safely before guests start arriving. Place your grill at least 10 feet away from any buildings, overhangs or trees. Also, make sure it is on a stable
- Clean your grill before placing food on it.
- Keep a fire extinguisher nearby at all times.
- Never leave your grill unattended.
Speaking of grilling, you want to avoid food poising as much as possible. Making sure food is handled and cooked properly is extremely important. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), meat and produce are responsible for nearly 70 percent of foodborne illness cases.
How to prevent food poisoning:
- Thoroughly wash your hands before and after touching food, especially meat, to prevent cross-contamination. Thoroughly clean utensils, cutting boards, and cookware after they have come in contact with any food.
- Marinate 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. Not sure what temperature to cook your meat to? Refer to the FoodSafety.gov chart of safe minimum cooking temperatures .
- 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 sit poolside during Labor Day. But be careful – even if everyone in your family knows how to swim, drowning is still a serious hazard, especially among younger children.
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:
- 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.
- Make sure responsible adults are aware of where the fire extinguisher is located in case of an emergency.
- 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.
Labor Day weekend can be a dangerous weekend when it comes to being on the road. If you decide to travel for your long weekend, you want to make sure you are being as cautious as possible.
How to prevent driving accidents:
- Before pulling out of your driveway for the weekend, make sure your car is in good enough shape to get you to your destination.
- Leave early enough just in case something goes wrong during your ride.
- Always ensure everyone in the vehicle is buckled at all times.
- Prepare alternate routes just in case of a road closure or an unexpected loss of signal on a GPS.
- Make sure the driver has gotten plenty of sleep and is solely focused on driving.