(RxWiki News) The Fourth is about fun and celebrating independence. But it should also be about health and safety.
Here's how to make sure your family celebrates safely with grilling and fireworks.
Fireworks can be dangerous, especially if they're not handled with care. Fireworks can and do cause injuries to the eyes and skin in both adults and children.
If fireworks are legal where you live and you are planning to shoot fireworks this July 4th, here are a few tips to keep in mind:
- Do not allow young children to play with or light fireworks. Even sparklers can result in injuries. Sparklers can reach 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit. Make sure your children keep the sparklers away from their face, hair and clothes. Having your children play with glow sticks is a safer alternative.
- Always have an adult available to supervise.
- Only purchase legal fireworks. Legal fireworks will indicate the manufacturer and directions for use. Illegal fireworks may be found under the names "M-80," "M100," "Blockbuster" or "Quarterpounder."
- Do not purchase fireworks that are packaged in brown paper. These fireworks are more than likely for professional use only.
- Do not throw or point fireworks at another person.
- Light one firework at a time.
- Do not put fireworks in your pocket.
- Do not light fireworks in glass or metal containers.
- Stay clear of others.
- Never light a firework while holding it in your hand.
- Point fireworks away from houses, vehicles, and brush or leaves.
- In case of fire, have a bucket of water or garden hose nearby.
Here are some tips to help you enjoy your July 4th barbecue while keeping yourself and your family safe from fires and food poisoning:
When shopping for food, choose untorn meat packages. The meat should feel cold, and raw meat should be separated from other items. As a general rule of thumb, perishable food should not be left out at room temperature for more than two hours. If the temperature is at or above 90 degrees Fahrenheit, pay special attention so the food is not out for more than an hour.
When refrigerated, raw poultry and ground meats are good for a day or two. Beef, pork and lamb, on the other hand, are good for five days. Frozen meats can be safe for much longer.
Regardless of the type of grill you are using, it is important to use it outside and away from anything that can burn, including your home and trees. Remember that many of the burns from grills happen to children. Keep kids at least three feet away from the grill.
General safety rules for fire apply to charcoal grills. These rules include not adding starter fluids to fire, keeping flammable liquids away from children and letting the charcoals cool before disposing of them.
For propane grills, it is important to check for any leaks by applying soapy water to the hose before use. A leak will cause the spot around the leak to bubble. The grill lid should always be open before the grill is lit, but the grill should never be turned on if you're smelling gas. If you smell gas while cooking, get away immediately and call 911.
The first thing to remember when cooking or eating is to always wash your hands for a minimum of 20 seconds. If this is not possible, try your best to keep your hands clean.
When cooking, always be wary of raw meat. Do not let raw meat touch cooked food, and do not reuse marinade that touched raw meat. Remember that the color of meat does not indicate food safety.
A food thermometer is a handy way to check the meat temperature. Ground meats should be cooked to 160°F, and pre-cooked meats and poultry should be cooked to 165°F. Other meats are safe when cooked to 145°F. If you decide to smoke the food, keep the interior smoker temperature at 225°F to 300°F. Meat should never be left partially grilled to be cooked later.
Once cooked, hot food should be kept hot at 140°F or higher. If you have leftovers, promptly refrigerate them for use in the next three to four days. The food can be kept in the freezer for four months.