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Keeping Your Picnic or Summer BBQ Safe

BBQ safety.

The summer is in full swing around this time of year and that means family BBQs and picnics with friends are in full force. Before you host your next big event this summer, check out our tips with help from some experts to help keep everyone safe.

Keeping Your Food Safe

Getting your backyard ready for a summer party or packing for a picnic always includes making sure there is enough food for everyone. When preparing food for your event, the FDA suggests cleaning all fruits and veggies before you pack up the cooler to prevent you from getting sick. Also, if you’re planning on marinating your food, make sure you do it in the refrigerator and aren’t reusing marinade. If you want to have some extra sauce to dip in when it comes time to eat, save some unused marinade for later.

Did you know that bacteria multiplies faster when food begins to heat up in the summer temperatures? According to the FDA, food that should be kept cold like cold cuts and uncooked meat should be kept in coolers that are cooled to 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below. If you’re keeping your food in coolers, make sure that you fill it up as a full cooler keeps cold longer than an empty one. To keep your perishable goods cold until you’re ready to eat, put drinks in one cooler and food in another so that when you reach in for that cold bottle of water you’re not helping cool air escape from the cooler keeping your burgers nice and cold. Don’t forget to keep your cooler in the shade too!

If you’re the type of person who likes to have everything as ready as possible before guests arrive, make sure you’re careful about when you start putting food out. Don’t let hot or cold food sit out for over two hours or 1 hour if it’s above 90 degrees outside to prevent it from going bad. Also, if you are planning to “pre-cook” for your guests, such as cooking the chicken breasts in the morning and heating them up later when it’s time for lunch, make sure you cook them all the way through so that bacteria is killed.

Fire Pit Tips

When it’s time to light the fire pit to make s’mores, make sure you’re being safe. If you’re lighting your own fire pit in your backyard, make sure it’s at least 10 feet from anything flammable. Keep a bucket of water or a hose within reach in case the flames of your fire pit get out of control. While the kids might be very excited to roast their own marshmallow this year, make sure you are supervising them. Educate them on the dangers of fire and make sure they are a safe distance away from the flame. Be sure that a responsible adult is the one who ignites and cleans up the fire pit when you’re finished for the night. As the moon begins to rise, make sure that you have flashlights handy and that no one is playing near  the fire pit without proper lighting and supervision.

Bug Bite Free

Everyone wants to enjoy the warmer summer weather, including bugs like fleas, mosquitoes and ticks who can spread harmful diseases when they come into contact with you. Using insect repellant is a great resource when it comes to warding off bug bites, especially from ticks and mosquitoes. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has a tool that can help you find the right insect repellant for you; however, repellant with 20 percent DEET is effective in repelling ticks and mosquitoes. Mosquitoes are most prevalent when the sun is rising and setting, so make sure you are applying repellant at the appropriate times. If you are in a heavily wooded area with tall grass and fallen leaves, you’re in a tick’s favorite place. Avoid areas such as these and make sure to check for ticks when you are back inside. Familiarize yourself with the signs of infection and make sure you react as quickly as possible. Watch particularly for a rash, body aches, neck stiffness or a fever.

Enjoy the summer weather with friends before it’s gone, but make sure you’re doing so safely!

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